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Music Therapy: Research Guide

Resources for Music Therapy Students

Research Guide

Welcome to this resource guide for Music Therapy

Use this guide to:

  • Learn how to locate articles through the library's search engine, Augmented Search
  • Explore the databases and journals related to music therapy
  • Find books that can help with your research
  • Explore specific topics related to the field of music therapy


If you have questions, please ask:

  • Your librarian, Brendan Higgins
    (contact details on the right)
  • Ask-A-Librarian

Image of the search box on the library homepage

Augmented Search is the default search engine found on the library's homepage. It allows users to search both the Berklee College and Boston Conservatory catalogs and most Berklee-licensed electronic resources, including e-books, streaming audio, e-scores and full-text articles. Although the results are extensive, it's important to note that it does not include ALL materials available online to the Berklee community.


When should I use "Augmented Search"?


You should use it when:


  • You just need a few books and articles on a topic and you want to quickly search in one place.

  • You need articles on a topic and you would like to search across multiple databases.

  • You want a book, score, CD or DVD but you’re not sure which Library would have it.


Making the most of "Augmented Search"

Use the facets in the search results!  

After running a search, you can limit the results by using the sidebar on the left. We recommend limiting by:


  • Choosing "Electronically Available" for online materials or "Catalog Only" for physical items in the libraries

  • Publication date, if you need more recent research or date specific research

  • Source Type, such as "Academic Journals" for articles, "Books" or "eBooks", or specific audiovisual materials. 

  • Language, if you find that you are getting many articles in foreign languages



Other tips:

  • When off-campus, be sure to log in in the upper right corner of your results page with your Berklee OnePass - some results and content can only be shown if you are a verified member of the Berklee community.

  • Notice that not all results will provide a full-text version of the article. You may need to search further for a specific article. We suggest searching for the title again in Augmented Search (in case it's available through a different database) or searching Google for a freely accessible copy. If that does not work, you can request a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Boolean operators are used to combine concepts when searching. The three Boolean operators you will use in searching are AND, OR, and occasionally, NOT. The operator you select will determine if the number of results you retrieve is increased or decreased. In most searches you will use a combination of these operators at various points in your search


  - Retrieves results that contain all concepts connected by the operator (AND)
  - Concepts can be entered in any order

  - Good for refining search results


Music Therapy AND Dementia AND Anxiety

[Dark shaded area would be the results]

Boolean And Example



  - Retrieves results that contain any of the concepts connected by the operator (OR)
  - Typically used to combine related concepts or synonyms
  - Increases number of results
  - Concepts can be entered in any order

Autism spectrum disorder OR Autism OR ASD

Dementia AND Music Therapy OR Movement Therapy 




  - Use with caution so that you do not eliminate relevant results
  - Retrieves records that exclude the concept following the operator (NOT)
  - Decreases retrieval
  - Order does matter (e.g. the search statement "Alzheimer's NOT dementia" will retrieve different results from the search statement "dementia NOT Alzheimer's")
Dementia NOT Alzheimer’s

Boolean Not Example

Glossary of Terms

Below are a collections of terms that you might come across in your research


Evidence Based Practice

Health care that integrates a practitioner's expertise with findings from scientifically-sound relevant research and the patient's values to make the best clinical decisions. 

Grey Literature

Information produced outside of traditional publishing and distribution channels, which can include reports, conference presentations, policy literature, working papers, newsletters, government documents, speeches, and white papers. These papers won't often come up in typical database searches, but may arise in expended searches, like through Google Scholar. They are often not peer-reviewed but my be helpful in showing some of the most current literature about a topic.


Medical Subject Headings: a thesaurus of medical terms used by many databases and libraries to index and classify medical information. You'll find these provided by certain databases. They use a different collection of terms than the Subject terms which usually come the Library of Congress.


A "study of studies" that uses a quantitative method of combining the results of independent studies (usually drawn from the published literature) and synthesizing summaries and conclusions which may be used to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness, plan new studies, etc. It is often an overview of clinical trials and allows readers to observe a collection of data, to best determine the effect of a therapy.


An acronym for: Population, Intervention (indicator/exposure/diagnostic tool), Comparison/control, and Outcome. PICO is often used to generate a clinical question for a review of the health literature.


A plan or set of steps to be followed in a study or a systematic review. They generally outline the design of a study or review, describe the objectives, methodology and overall organization of the research to be carried out forming a template and guide to the research process as a whole. By publishing them, they allow for quality control and oversight before, during and after a study or review is conducted.

Randomized controlled trial (RCT) 

A type of quantitative, experimental research study, which involve random assignment to groups and manipulation of the independent variable. They investigate the effects of an intervention or treatment on study participants. who are randomly assigned to either the intervention (treated) or control (untreated) group.

Systematic Review

A way of combining information from multiple studies or trials that have investigated the same thing, to come to an overall understanding of what they found, such as how effective a certain treatment is, or how people have experienced a particular health condition or treatment. There are various types of reviews (see below), but Systematic Reviews are typically the most rigorous, with well-defined parameters, bias control, and exhaustive searches. They may also include a meta-analysis.

Other review types:

  • Literature Review - They illustrate what knowledge and ideas have been established on a particular topic, what the strengths and weaknesses are, and to identify controversies in the literature. Unlike systematic reviews, they are not necessarily intended to determine the effectiveness of a treatment, rather, they may broadly discuss the relevant literature on that topic.
  • Rapid Review - They are similar to Systematic Reviews, in that they have the same well-defined research parameters, but the search and analysis of the literature is not extensive due to time-constraints. They are typically narrative in style, like a literature review.
  • Scoping Review or Mapping Review - They systematically map the literature on a topic by identifying key concepts, theories and sources of evidence that inform practice in the field. They can help identify gaps in the current research and can lead to recommendations for further studies. 
  • Umbrella Review - These are often called a "review of reviews." In fields with extensive research and reviews, they are often conducted when there are multiple competing interventions for a condition.



Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get library materials: scores, books and articles beyond the Berklee library with interlibrary loan (ILL).
First try to find it in our catalog, not there? please fill out ILL request form.
  • ILL is available for current undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff.
  • Due dates vary and are set by the lending institution. Renewals can be requested via but are not guaranteed.
  • ILL takes time to come in give yourself 1-2 weeks for articles and 2-3 weeks for books and scores.


How do I get an article that the Library doesn’t have and isn’t available as full text online?

Request the article via Interlibrary Loan (ILL):

Most databases will allow you to email the citations directly.  When requesting articles from the library always email citations to, you must include your full name and email address somewhere in the message/comment.  Failing to do so will result in the request going unfilled.  Please use part of article title as subject title.  

 If not using the database’s interface to email a citation, you may email directly but you must include the entire citation.  


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Brendan Higgins
Stan Getz Library, Room 296
150 Mass Ave