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Hawaiian & Polynesian Warfare: Research Strategies

A guide to research methods, originally created for Hawaiian Pacific Studies 495A (UH-West Oahu)

Other Databases

Each of these databases provides access to a different type of scholarly article. All yield at least some results when searching the term "Polynesian warfare." (Try also individual island groups: Samoan warfare, and etc.) Databases marked with two asterisks (**) are only available to UH-Mānoa students, faculty and affiliates. Mouse over link for description.

Basic Research Checklist

1. Voyager

  • Voyager should be your first stop whenever beginning a new research project. It holds the record for every item (books, journals, newspapers, microfilms, videos, audio recordings, manuscript collections and etc.) in every library in the UH system, from Hilo to Kauai. While Voyager allows for many complex searches, on the most basic level what it is doing is allowing you to search for materials by title, author and subject. It does NOT generally allow you to search for the titles of articles within journals or the titles / authors of chapters within books (there are other strategies for these kinds of searches ... see below). There are occasional exceptions to this rule -- some book contents are listed in Voyager records; some journal articles have been cataloged separately in Voyager by title -- but as a rule of thumb when starting your research, assume that you are going to be searching for title, author or subject.
  • Before you start searching, it's a good idea to log into the Voyager system, which you can do by clicking on the "Login to your account" link in the upper right hand of the Voyager search screen. This will not only save you a step when you begin requesting books, but also allows you to save your search results for future reference -- very useful when it comes time to cite your references in a paper. Use the "Add to My List" button to save search results, which will then appear when you click the "My List" tab at the top of any Voyager screen.
  • Keyword searching: The simplest way to begin searching is via a keyword search. In the "Basic" mode, simply type some words that you think might describe your needs (for instance, Polynesian Warfare) and hit search. This will give you a broad sampling of materials, some of which should be related to your topic. When you find something that is of interest, look at the "Subjects" field -- you can click on these links to find other materials that are on the same topic.
  • Subject searching: There are not going to be a great many books that include "Polynesian" and "Warfare" in their Voyager record -- that is, there are few complete books on the subject. In most cases, you will have to look in works that are about broader subjects, but which include chapters or sections on weapons or warfare. For primary source material, you will want to look at the accounts of the early European "voyages of discovery" and the writings of those who followed immediately in the voyagers' wake (i.e., missionaries, whalers, merchants and so forth). Subject headings allow you to narrow your search to more specific topics. Use the following searches in the Basic Search mode, after selecting "Subject Browse." (Tip: In all cases, to view the earliest material, sort your search results by "Oldest First" using drop down menu in upper right corner.)

Use COUNTRY -- Discovery and Exploration to find voyaging accounts. (Example. Hawaii -- discovery and exploration).
Use COUNTRY -- Description and Travel for the early post-voyaging accounts. (Example. Tonga -- discovery and travel).
Use COUNTRY -- Social life and customs for later descriptions, including modern works. (Example. Samoa -- social life and customs).
Use Ethnology -- COUNTRY for later descriptions, including modern works. (Example. Ethnology -- French Polynesia.)

 

2. Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index (HPJI)

  • As mentioned above, Voyager searches for the titles of journals, but it does not generally search for titles of articles within journals. Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index is one way to "look inside" journals. It is not a full-text database, but it does allows you to search the contents of more than 130 scholarly journals and "popular press" magazines published in or about Hawaii and the Pacific. Most of these are not indexed anywhere else in the world. All of the searching in HPJI is by keyword, and covers the article title, journal title, author, journal date, and an abstract/summary of each article.
  • The three most useful searches in HPJI are Keyword Anywhere, Author Name and Journal Name. In most cases, it is best to use the "advanced search" mode, rather than the "basic search," which is less flexible.

  • With a few exceptions, most of the magazines and journals indexed in the HJPI are only available in print; all are held by the Hawaii and Pacific Collections in UH-M library. Once you find an article in HPJI, look at the holdings information -- if there is an electronic version available (such as for Contemporary Pacific or the Journal of the Polynesian Society) a link should appear in the HPJI record. Otherwise, you will need to go back into the Voyager database, search for the journal title in basic search mode, and then use "Get This Item" to request the specific journal the article appears in.

  • When working in HPJI, it's a good idea to have two windows open so that you can run HPJI and Voyager simultaneously; once you've found something in HPJI, you can then jump to Voyager to request the journal. Remember to save the publishing information (article title, journal title, issue date, page numbers) for all items you request: A year's worth of journals are often bound together; if you don't have this information with you when you come to look at the journal, you will waste a lot of time flipping through hundreds of pages looking for your article.

3. Google Scholar

  • Google Scholar is another useful means of searching inside scholarly journals, and you will often find material here that is not indexed in HPJI (because Hawaii and Pacific scholars will sometimes publish articles in journals that are not specifically about Hawaii or the Pacific).
  • Although you can reach Google Scholar on the open internet, it is best to log in through the library's electronic resources portal (use the link above) -- this is because the library's version of Google Scholar automatically recognizes articles that the library has paid for through its database subscriptions, and so you can immediately get the articles for free in full text. If you were to find the same articles using the open Internet version, you would be required to pay for access to the articles.
  • If you find an article in Google Scholar that the library doesn't subscribe to electronically, be sure to search in the Voyager catalog to see if we subscribe to the print version.

4. Google Books

  • Google Books can at times be a useful tool for searching within the contents of books: It searches the full text of books that have been scanned by Google. If a book is out of copyright or if Google has made arrangements with a copyrighted book's publisher, you will often be able to look at full-text on screen. In other cases, you will be able to see a small "snippet" of the text.
  • When full text is not available online (or even if it is, but you prefer to read the printed version), keep in mind that virtually all of the books you find on Google Books will be available in print in the UH library. So you can also use Google Books as a supplement to our Voyager catalog: Search the contents of the books using Google, then search Voyager for the title.