WRTG: Community Research

Opening of the renovated Ithaca Commons, August 2015

IC Library Book & Media Resources

Subject Searches in the IC Library Catalog

(Click to run targeted Subject searches in the IC Library catalog)

Physical Community:

Community life
Community life--United States
Community life--Case studies
Community life -- Psychological aspects
Community development
Community development--United States
Community organization
Community organization--United States
Community power

Social indicators--United States
Quality of life
Quality of life--United States

City and town life
City and town life--United States.
Urbanization--United States
City planning
Urban anthropology
Urban policy--United States--Case studies
Urban renewal--United States
Metropolitan areas--United States
Sociology, Urban--United States
Public spaces
Suburbs--United States
Suburban life
Suburban life--United States
Villages--United States
Rural development--United States
United States--Rural conditions
Country life
Sociology, Rural--United States

Planned communities--United States--Case studies
Collective settlements
Collective settlements--United States
Communal living--United States
Communal living--United States--History

Civil society
Civil society--United States
Social participation--United States
Social networks
Social networks--United States
Group identity
Group identity -- United States
Group identity -- Political aspects -- United States
Marginality, Social--United States
Homelessness--United States

Multiculturalism--United States
Pluralism (Social sciences)--United States
Culture conflict--Unted States
United States--Race relations
Race awareness--United States
Race discrimination--United States
Racism--United States
United States--Ethnic relations
Ethnicity--United States
African Americans--Social conditions
Hispanic Americans--Social conditions
Asian Americans--Social conditions
Mexican Americans--Social conditions
Racially mixed people--United States
Jews--United States--Social conditions
Gays--United States--Social conditions
Minorities--United States
Poor--United States
Middle class--United States
Wealth--United States
Social classes--United States
Immigrants--United States
Immigrants--United States--Social conditions

United States--Civilization
National characteristics, American

Utopias History

Virtual Community:

Technological innovations--Social aspects
Computers and civilization
Computers--Social aspects
Pocket computers--Social aspects
Virtual reality--Social aspects
Cyberspace--Social aspects
Shared virtual environments
Internet--Social aspects
Computer networks--Social aspects
Social media
Online social networks
Online social networks--Social aspects
Online social networks--United States
Facebook (Electronic resource)
Digital media--Social aspects
Cellular telephones--Social aspects
Instant messaging
Text messages (Telephone systems)
Blogs--Social aspects

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

     General OneFile : is the most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text.  Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better).  Among the Subjects available here are Community, Community Life, Community organization, Neighborhoods, and Quality of Life.
     When you settle on a subject heading, open the "Subdivisions" link below it.  Most General OneFile subject searchs produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Environmental aspects,"  "Forecasts and Trends," "Political aspects," "Psychological aspects," and  "Social aspects," to name only a few.
      If the best available subdivision is still too broad, open it and add your own Keywords in the "Search within these results" slot at the upper left.
     User Advisory: When first viewing your retrievals in General OneFile, note that you are seeing only the "Magazines" (popular articles) and must click on the tabs for "Academic Journals" (scholarly articles) or "News" (newspaper articles) to see those results.

     ProQuest Research Library : is another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word.   Among the Subjects available here are Community, Community development, Community planning, Community relations, Community support, Neighborhoods, and Quality of life.  Add keywords as needed for fine-tuning results. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location." 
     SocINDEX with Full Text : As the name implies, an excellent database for social issues. Click on the "Subject Terms" link above the search slots to find which Subject Headings will work here. Double click any Heading for a list of broader, narower, and related Subject Terms. Among the Subjects available here are Communities, Community Life, Community Psychology, Community Relations, Quality of Life, Neighborhoods, Sustainable Communities, and Virtual Communities.  And note that you can check the boxes to select as many Headings as you like and then "add to search using or" and run the search--all without even retyping the terms back on the home page.
    User Advisory: For any retrieved set of articles, there will be a box displayed on the left that will limit the articles to “Scholarly” journals—just check the box and click the “Update Results” button below.

     PsycINFO :  The American Psychological Association use their own Subject vocabulary (called "Descriptors"), so a visit to the "Thesaurus" below the search slots is a good idea. Among the descriptors available here are Communities, Neighborhoods, Community Involvement, Community Psychology, Quality of Life, and Well Being. If you find an article on exactly what you want, be sure to check the assigned "Descriptors" on the right of the citation for more ideas about useful search terms.  
     PsycINFO deals only with scholarly literature, much of it assuming a graduate-level understanding of the discipline.  But among these you may find interesting, accessible articles on your topic.  
     User Advisory: If what you're searching for are "journal articles only" in "English," it's a good idea to check those boxes (below the search slots).

      JSTOR : covers a wide range of scholarly journals in most disciiplines, always beginning with the first issue of each one.  This provides 100% full text access to articles from not only the first half of the 20th century but even the second half of the 19th.  Be aware, however, that at the other end of the date range articles don't appear in JSTOR until at least 2-3 years after publication.  Also be aware that for 100% full text you must change the setting from "include links to external content" to "include only content I can access."
     JSTOR offers only a Keyword search of its complete full text, so retrievals are large, but the relevancy ranking does a good job of putting the strongest matches on the first few pages.  This relevancy ranking does not weigh date, however, and will display a mix of articles written decades apart.  So if your topic is time sensitive, be alert to publication dates.  For this topic, running a quick search on Communit* and Neighborhood*  gives you a good overview of the kind of articles available here.  (* is the truncation symbol here: communit* retrieves both community and communities.)
     User Advisory: The academic journals covered here feature numerous book reviews, so it's a good idea to tic the "Article" limit below the search slots so you won't be overwhelmed by book reviews on your topic.  
     Also note the "Date Range" limit, which in a database with an archive this deep can be very useful.

     AnthroSource : an interesting resource for this topic and 100% full-text, but the keyword-only interface makes searching on "community" a bit of a problem unless you add qualifying terms (or limit your search to the Title field, which actually works fairly well in the case of "community").

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Web Resources

Selected Web Sites

  • Community Development: from the Brookings Institute, a wide-raning series of reports.  Be sure to click on the "More on Community Development" link at the bottom of the first page.
  • Urban Institute: A major source of research on the quality of life in American cities and how it might be improved.  Use the "Browse by Topic" headings along the left to find reports on a particular facet of urban life.
  • Pew Research Center: Social & Demographic Trends Reports:  This takes some scanning, but patience will be rewarded by reports such as "Middle Class Blues: Pricey Nieghborhoods, High Stress," "Suburbs Not Most Popular, But Suburbanites Most Content," "Black-White Connflict Isn't Society's Largest: The Public Assesses Social Divisions."
  • Intentional Communities: "Intentional Community is an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, alternative communities, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision."
  • On the Street Where You Live: American FactFinder: from the Census Bureau. Type in a street address, hit "Go," choose one of the goegraphic units offerd, hit "Next."  This will deliver a full range of demographic information for that area and population.
  • Etc. Many community quality of life studies are undertaken at the local, regional, and state level, so one strategy would be to enter "quality of life" along with a place name in a Web search engine (for advice on Web search engines, see below).

Web Search Engines

Google Advanced Search: When doing research on the Web, always use the Adanced Search version of Google. This not only provides more flexibility in entering search terms, but more importantly it allows you to target the Web domains that are likely to provide the most authoritative information.
   Under "Need More Tools?" you will find the "Search within a site or domain" slot. You may enter only one domain at a time, but it's worth targeting each of the three domains likely to supply the best information: colleges and universities (enter the "edu" tag), nonprofit organizations (enter the "org" tag), and the United States government (enter the "gov" tag).

Web Directories

  Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control. 

Open Directory Project: Community and Economic Development: Scroll down for a wide range of links to community and neighborhood development sites on the Web.

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.