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Humanities Research: Sources and Strategies: Scholarly Associations

Tips for Scholarly Associations

Scholarly and professional associations typically provide many of the following resources and services:

  • Publications (bibliography [e.g. MLA International Bibliography, online and print], scholarly journals [e.g. PMLA], books, journal, teaching guides, and newsletters)
  • Annual convention
  • Jobs list and career services (e.g. interviewing at convention)
  • Task force reports, surveys (state of the profession, issues of concern)
  • Committees & commissions
  • Prizes & awards
  • Guide to doctoral programs

Locate associations by:

  • searching Google using terms such as "Association" or "Society" along with subject term
  • accessing a metasite for the discipline (see "Resources" box below)
  • using research guides to the discipline (listed on this guide's homepage)
  • noting publishers of scholarly journals or subject databases (often affiliated with a scholarly association)

Sometimes a major national or international association may have regional subgroups or chapters.

There are associations devoted to a single person (example: Dante Society of America).

Scholarly Associations: Resources

Metasites (general lists):

Literature and Languages:



Music: branches of the discipline and related associations:

  • Performance (American Guild of Organists)
  • Composition (ASCAP: American Society of Composers and Publishers)
  • Theory (Society for Music Theory)
  • Musicology = music history studies (AMS: American Musicological Society)
  • Ethnomusicology = anthropological study of music (Society for Ethnomusicology)
  • Education (MENC: Music Educators National Conference; NATS: National Association for Teachers of Singing)
  • Music librarianship (MLA: Music Library Association)
  • Arts management/administration (Association of Arts Administration Educators)

      Music metasites with more associations:

Art, Theatre & Dance

Scholarly Associations: Should I do a Broad or Narrow Search?

Many associations represent a whole discipline (history, literature) or branch of a discipline (American history, English literature), or other broad subject area (Renaissance studies, Romanticism). So you can start with a quite broad search, to see what the major association(s) are for your discipline, then add some keywords to see if there are any groups that specialize further in the subject area of your topic.

There are also associations devoted to a single person. So if your topic centers around a major writer, artist, etc., try searching their name combined with "association" or "society."