Answered By: Josh Denby
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2017     Views: 249

Finding appropriate sources for your topic consists of the following steps:

    Identify Your Topic Keywords:

    For Literary Studies, keywords will frequently be the name of the author you are studying, the title of the work (play, novel, story, poem, etc) you are analyzing, the name of a theory or theorist with whom you are working, and words or phrases that represent the issues, themes, motifs, concepts, etc. that you are examining.

    For example, if you are using a Marxist approach to analyze Shakespeare’s treatment of death in the play Hamlet, your initial keywords would be “Shakespeare,” “Hamlet,” “Marxism,” and “death.” You may try additional search terms, like synonyms or related terms for “death,” as you execute your searches.

    Choose appropriate resources to execute your search:

    The Library Catalog

    You can search for books on your topic in the catalog. Type your keywords in the search box or try the Advanced Search (add link) option for additional Limiters to help focus your search results. You will also find Search Tips on the Advanced Search page.


    Databases contain journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations on your topic. Some full-text sources are available from our library website or database, but others are only available in print or may be borrowed from another library (using Interlibrary Loan (ILL)). Type your keywords into the search boxes. When using an “Advanced Search,” make sure to use one keyword/search term per box. Look for the html & pdf links or the “Find this Item” button to access source content.

    Subject-Specific Databases

    To find the databases for English Studies, click here, or select the “Databases” tab on the library homepage. Then select the ‘Browse by Subject” option.  Next, select “Literary Criticism (English and American)” from the list of subjects. For general research in Literature, MLA International Bibliography, JSTOR, and Project Muse are recommended. For more information on these and other databases, click on the blue ‘i’ icon next to the database you are interested in.English Research Guide

    The English Research Guide provides resources to support your research needs relevant to English Studies, including literature and linguistics, creative writing, and rhetoric, composition and pedagogy.  It includes numerous aids for finding sources in the tabs at the top of the guide, along with helpful information on citing materials.


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