University Library at St. Cloud State University

ENGL 184: Introduction to Literature

Developing a literary research topic


Elements to consider when developing your research paper
Developing a research question
Effective search strategies
Before searching the library databases, spend a few minutes brainstorming keywords and considering synonyms that describe the individual concepts within your topic. Developing a search strategy in this way can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your search results.
 

 
LibSearch and Databases
LibSearch Restricted Resource Some full text availabledatabase provides a single search box that allows users to search for books, audio-visual materials, journal articles, and other resources contained in many of the Library's databases.LibSearch is one of several databases that provide general or subject-specific coverage of an academic discipline or subject area. The screenshot below highlights some of the features of Library Search.




MLA International Bibliography (Languages & Literature) Restricted Resource findit database
Comprehensive current index to articles and chapters in scholarly collections for literature, linguistics, and folklore. Covers all the world's languages and literatures, both contemporary and historical.
Note: 1963 - present

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text availabledatabase
Provides access to scholarly journals in anthropology, ecology, economics, education, general science, history, literature, mathematics, political science, philosophy, and more. Some journals have "moving wall" access that does not include the most recent 2-5 years.

Project Muse Restricted Resource Some full text availabledatabase
Full-text access to more than 150 scholarly journals and eBooks in all disciplines published by Johns Hopkins University and several other university presses.

Academic Search Premier (all topics) from EBSCO Restricted Resource Some full text availablefindit elm database
Academic Search Premier (ASP) contains indexing for nearly 8,050 publications, with full text for more than 4,600 of those titles. ASP provides full-text coverage in biology, chemistry, education, engineering, humanities, physics, psychology, religion and theology, sociology, etc. Tip: Click the check box to limit to Academic (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

Literature Criticism Online Restricted Resource database
Provides online full-text scholarly essays and commentary on classic books and authors. Includes Contemporary Literary Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, and Shakespearean Criticism.
Search tips for library databases:
  • Search by concepts, taking out common words like effect, affect, good, bad, etc.
  • Using AND focuses or limits your search (you get fewer results). Using OR broadens or expands your search (you get more results).
  • Use * to search for different word endings (child* searches child, child's, children, children's but also childbirth) and plurals.
  • Use quotation marks around phrases.
  • Try the Advanced Search. Change the "field" you are search using the pull down menu (for example, search for keywords only in the "Title" of an article, especially helpful in Project Muse and JSTOR).
Access Off Campus
View instructions and get help with troubleshooting.
Find background information on your topic

Search for background information on your topic in CREDO Reference

Literary background information
Dictionary of Literary Biography
Print Location: REFERENCE PN451 .D54 and online
Contains in-depth biographical information on writers, poets, and playwrights world-wide. Each entry places the major works in the context of that person's life. Entries include a list of major works of the author, and a list of references.

Continuum Encyclopedia of American Literature
Composed of biographical and critical entries, this encyclopedia is a guide for American literature.
Evaluate and Cite Your Sources
Learn, Evaluate, Cite: Resources from the Library on evaluating and citing information

SCSU's The Write Place writing resources

Citation Styles Choose a citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, etc) and follow the guidelines for formatting your paper and references.


MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL at Purdue)
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities, including English. This resource offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Google Scholar
Google Scholar Restricted Resource database
Google Scholar allows you to search the Web for peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts, and articles available from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. When on campus click on "Available via SCSU FindIt" to locate the item through the Library's subscriptions.   
Some tips for searching Google Scholar:
http://guides.library.illinois.edu/c.php?g=347668&p=3835551

More tips:
http://www.umuc.edu/library/libhow/googlescholar.cfm

Information from Google about Google Scholar:

http://scholar.google.com/intl/en-US/scholar/help.html
 

Information about the "Cited by" function in Google Scholar:
http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/content.php?pid=225643&sid=1870041

Subject Specialist
Picture: Jennifer Quinlan

Jennifer Quinlan
Associate Professor, Research Librarian
MC 140G
(320) 308-5626
jmquinlan@stcloudstate.edu


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