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WGS Concentrator's Toolkit

WOMGEN 98s Spring 2022


Oxford Bibliographies Online combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with those of good subject overview  in order to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad topic (mass incarceration, bilingual education, outcomes of social movements and protest activities, social stratification, and so forth).

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to. See, for example: 


Handbooks and companions  are a stock-in-trade for academic researchers. Typically, they're edited volumes, with chapters written by authorities (recognized subject experts).They synthesize current "consensus" thinking about  a particular topic, phenomenon, theory, etc., and often offer extensive bibliography.

Examples pertinent to WGS 98s themes include:

Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory (2015)

Leading feminist theorists provide in-depth explorations of an array of subject areas, capturing a plurality of approaches. The chapters offer innovative analyses of  central topics in political, social, cultural, and medical and scientific discourse that have been transformed through feminist theorization.



Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements (2015)

cover of oxford handbook transnational feminismIn 35 chapters, explores the historical, political, economic and social contexts in which transnational feminist movements have emerged and spread, and the contributions they have made to global knowledge, power and social change over the past half century. 

The handbook is organized into ten sections, each beginning with an introduction by the editors. The sections explore  knowledge, theory and praxis; organizing for change; body politics, health and well-being; human rights and human security; economic and social justice; citizenship and state-building; militarism and religious fundamentalisms; peace movements, post-conflict rebuilding; feminist political ecology; and digital-age transformations and future trajectories.

Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy (2017)

Fifty-six chapters, written by an international team of contributors specifically for the Companion, are organized into five sections: (1) Engaging the Past; (2) Mind, Body, and World; (3) Knowledge, Language, and Science; (4) Intersections; (5) Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. It foregrounds issues of global concern and scope; shows how feminist theory meshes with rich theoretical approaches that start from transgender identities, race and ethnicity, sexuality, disabilities, and other axes of identity and oppression; and highlights the interdisciplinarity of feminist philosophy and the ways that it both critiques and contributes to the whole range of subfields within philosophy.


Literature reviews help you easily understand—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field. They not only track trends over time in the scholarly discussions of a topic, but also synthesize and connect related work. They cite the trailblazers and sometimes the outliers, and they even root out errors of fact or concept. Typically, they include a final section that identifies remaining questions or future directions research might take.

Among the databases for finding literature reviews, we recommend you start with:

Annual Reviews 

Since 1932,the Annual Reviews series has offered authoritative syntheses of the primary research literature in 46 academic fields, including economics, lawpolitical science, and sociology.


lightbulb iconTIP: If you find a review that seems on point, but rather dated (10 years or so), try searching for it (or one of the authorities it cites) in Google Scholar. Then follow the “cited by” links. You  may discover something more recent there. 





Sage Research Methods Online

The ultimate methods library, it has more than 1000 books, reference works, journal articles, case studies, and instructional videos by world-leading academics from across the social sciences. It also boasts the largest collection of qualitative methods books available online from any scholarly publisher. 

Users can browse content by topic, discipline, or format type (reference works, book chapters, definitions, etc.). SRM offers several research tools as well: a methods map;  user- created reading lists; a project planner and advice on choosing statistical tests.

See, for example, this sample list of recent publications on feminist methodologies




A full text database of unique and diverse publications that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. The database provides abstracts and the full text of some 175 academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, non-governmental organization, and special reports.

LGBTQ+ Source

Covers four hundred magazines, academic journals, news sources, that treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender themes. 

Studies on Women and Gender Abstracts 

A database of article citations and summaries (with links to full-text) from the international literature produced on women and gender studies.  Topics run teh (inter)disciplinary gamut: history; education; race and ethnicity; literary studies; media and culture; geography; law; social work and social care; social policy; sociology; health, medical, and psychology; and politics. Both theoretical and empirical materials are included. 

Like PhilPapers (below), each article in SGWA is classified and assigned to a specialist subject taxonomy created by experts in the field. Users can browse within these key subjects or apply these categories after the fact to streamline their keyword results.


A directory of online academic research in all aspects of philosophy.  Among its helpful features is the ability to browse a topic list that has been defined and is maintained by the site's philosopher-community. One of its current aims is to classify all its contents according to a finely-grained taxonomy. In that respect, it behaves something like the SGWA database (described above). 

A list of broad topics related to feminism makes browsing (as well as keyword/subject searching) possible. 




Academic Search Premier

ASP casts a wide net, so you might see a topic treated from a number of disciplinary angles or through a variety of theoretical lenses. While much of what ASP searches is from scholarly sources, generous amounts also come from newspaper and general interest magazines. That sometimes means more breadth than depth, so depending on your topic (and the range of sources you're including), you may want to check your search results here against what you get in a gender-focused database (like those described above). 

Arts Premium Collection

Subject areas include: Art, Design, Architecture, Humanities, Film/Screen Studies, Music, Performing Arts, and more. With international coverage, and access to the definitive indexes in these fields, the Arts Premium Collection supports academic inquiry and is a rich source for comprehensive arts literature reviews.

Project  Muse 

Originally a collection of high quality journals published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, Project Muse now includes both journals and and books from non-profit scholarly publishers, including university presses and societies.

Muse is weighted heavily toward the humanities, though its coverage of the social sciences is also robust. 

Content is current, so unlike JSTOR, there is no moving wall to contend with.  In fact, recent issues of journal titles that are embargoed in JSTOR will sometimes be available for access in Project Muse. 

Social Sciences Premium Collection 

Covers the international literature in social sciences, drawing its contents from the key databases for sociology, politics, public policy, anthropology, criminology, linguistics, and and education. 





Alt-Press Watch 

A full text database of the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press. As a current and retrospective collection, Alt-Press Watch serves a broad spectrum of subject areas including the arts, media and popular culture, business and labor studies, education, environmental studies and ecology, global studies, history, journalism, literary and critical studies, political science, government and public policy, social science and more.

Ethnic Newswatch 

A current, interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish), and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press.

​LGBT Magazine Archive 

Archival runs of 26 of the most influential, longest-running serial publications covering LGBT+ interests.In addition to the Advocate and Gay Times, the pre-eminent US and UK titles, respectively, key publications include DivaPink Paper and Transgender Tapestry,  Chronicles more than six decades of the history and culture of the LGBT community and also serves related disciplines such as sociology, political science, psychology, health, and the arts,

Nexis Uni 

This database includes more than 3000 newspapers from around the globe, most in English (or English translation). Coverage varies by title but usually dates from the 1980s forward. Nexis Uni is also good for searching  transcripts of major TV  and radio news broadcasts (including BBC and NPR). 

​ProQuest Historical Newspapers 

Searches across the contents of major U.S. dailies, notable Black newspapers, and some foreign newspapers.Among the titles included: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post and Dispatch, and the Wall Street Journal. 

The Vogue Archive 

Contains the entire run of Vogue magazine (US edition), from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images. Every page, advertisement, cover and fold-out has been included, with rich indexing enabling you to find images by garment type, designer and brand name.

Women's Magazine Archive 

Features the leading women's consumer magazines of the 20th century digitized in full color and high resolution. Includes the following titles: Better Homes and Gardens (1922-2005); Chatelaine (1928-2005); Good Housekeeping (1885-2005); Ladies' Home Journal (1883-2005); Parents (1926-2005); Redbook (1903-2005). Monthly issues cover social, historical, and cultural trends in the areas of business/marketing, fashion, women's/gender studies, design and illustration.

Zines at the Schlesinger Library (collection guide) 



Founded in 1995, in the early days of the web, as a way "to tap into its amazing power to offer people around the world access to information about human rights, women's issues, health, anti-violence resources, grassroots activism, women's businesses, and pretty much anything that could possibly support a world where men and women are allied, empowered and equal."





Feminist Magazines [Feminist Majority Foundation]

Feminist Websites, Blogs, and Resources [Stanford U, Women's Community Center]


Primary Sources: Major Collections at Harvard



The Schlesinger Library is obviously a key archival site for WGS concentrators.  Houghton Library may also contain significant special collections. Students interested in Harvard history and women may materials in both the University Archives and Schlesinger, which holds the records of Radcliffe College.  Business history as it relates to women might be covered in the special collections of the Baker Library of the HBS.

Archival collections at Harvard are discoverable in various ways: via HOLLIS, via a special tool called HOLLIS for Archival Discovery (which brings together finding aids from across the library system), or by contacting the library directly. 

Curators and special collections librarians will work with you to identify the right sources for your project. 

Key people contacts




Sometimes, adding the word sources to a keyword string will retrieve published collections of primary source materials.  Other words that you can try include reader document* (for documents and documentary); readeranthologycasebook

Using the right side limits, adjust the DATE PARAMETERS of your search results. Items that were published on the subject during the period you specify will qualify as primary sources.  

Using the right side limits, examine the FORM/GENRE categories. Items that have been tagged with words like interviews, autobiography, memoirspeechesphotographscorrespondence (and so on) might help you target various kinds of primary sources.

Look for a biography  or history of the individual or social reform movement you're interested in. Full-length biographies are chock full of primary source references -- from shopping lists to letters to contemporary reviews and perceptions. Some of these will be in archives and impossible for you to reach given the constraints of the term; others will be republished and can be easily obtained for you  by other means. 



The Library's Databases page will be essential for uncovering these collections efficiently.   For abroad sample of the range of primary source materials available to you online, click on the link below: 

 (women OR gender OR sexuality OR LGBT* )   limited post-search to content type: 

Think intersectionally and flexibly as you use this page, however.  Click on any subject category-- History, African American Studies, Law, etc.  and pair it with the content type filter and you may be surprised at what you find. 



ArchiveGrid: The Open Door to History 

This database includes over 5 million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.


A catalog of library catalogs from across North America (and in some instances beyond), it includes much more than archival information. However, a keyword search can be filtered by "archival material" and/or "manuscript." 



Global Women's Issues and Data



Google Scholar Settings: One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do:  Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on .  Look for "Library Links."  Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.  


The Harvard Library Bookmark: create a "master key," save it to your toolbar, and just click on when you want to check your options.




If you've used NoodleTools or EasyBib in a past academic life -- or even if you've figured out the the pin and cite options in HOLLIS -- Zotero will take you to a whole new level. 

This free, open source citation management tool makes the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page stress-free and nearly effortless.

It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero. A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: