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Japanese Research & Bibliographic Methods for Undergraduates: Course Details

A full curriculum for students in undergraduate programs who have studied at least one year of Japanese.

Important Details

The course curriculum and its materials are especially designed to reflect the needs of undergraduates who major or minor in Japanese Studies at the University at Albany (SUNY). The program at UAlbany emphasizes core language classes with an additional mix of courses in Literature, History, and Religious studies. Students often take the opportunity to study abroad, either for a semester or for an academic year, at Kansai Gaidai or Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. There is no graduate program in Japanese or East Asian Studies at UAlbany, and so library holdings emphasize core reference materials (in both Japanese and English), and primary and secondary materials appropriate for undergraduate research (in English).
Bibliography courses in Japanese studies are staples in graduate curricula in North America. There, the focus is on available databases, compendia, and research methodology. How is this course different? It is aimed at undergraduates, and thus includes some information, such as how kanji dictionaries are organized, that graduate students do not need. It also focuses more on English-language resources, but certainly not to the exclusion of Japanese language resources. The emphasis is on giving students the research tools they need. Finally, the course includes information on electronic resources--software, databases, mobile apps, electronic dictionaries, etc. These are, admittedly, a moving target. NCC very much hopes that users of the curriculum will help keep it up to date by suggesting additions or deletions as technology evolves.

-- Use and adapt the course materials according to your needs.

-- The order of the lessons is a recommendation only.

-- There are several instances of 'putting the cart before the horse.' For example: lesson 3 asks students to cite sources they find in the library, even though citation is not formally taught until lesson 13.

-- Many of the concepts in the curriculum derive from Chinese history and culture and parallels are often drawn to Chinese Studies


The Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary Research in Japanese Sources The Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature  Japan Style Sheet: the SWET Guide
Perhaps the most practical of the textbooks. Aside from being an essential resources for native speakers of English studying Japanese, the appendices are relevant to many lessons. Students are also allowed to consult the Nelson's during exams. Accessible to undergraduates, providing enough information about the different kinds of information resources without overwhelming them. Being published in 1965 it focuses exclusively on print resources. A small encyclopedia on everything to do with Japan's written tradition and more. Although it focuses on literature it contains a variety of information relevant throughout the course. Explains the rules that form the foundation of effectively formatting and citing information in Japanese Studies. Combined with a proper style guide for MLA or other citation styles helps prepare students for managing their research.

File Types

Word File
PDF file
Power Point File
Excel File
Internet Sites
.html, .php, etc.
Course Readings were originally typed as a word file. You can edit them to tailor the curriculum to your own needs. Course readings are also saved as PDF files. They're ideal for uploading to course management software systems like Blackboard Learning System or GoogleDocs. Course Lectures have accompanying PowerPoint Slides that may be freely edited to suit the needs of your own teaching style. There are some Excel files, though not many. Grading sheets are available as excel files amongst a few others. Internet links mostly comprise useful tools for the students to use. This includes services like Zotero,, and freely accessible databases.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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