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English Literature

This guide will introduce you to resources that you can use when studying English literature.

Developing Keywords

Keywords are the building blocks of research. However, finding ones that produce the kind of search results that you are looking for can be tricky. These questions can be helpful to think through these questions when developing keywords:

  1. What are the important nouns in your research question?
  2. What are synonyms for those important nouns? How might different groups refer to your topic?
  3. Who are the key figures/ what are the key events that you learned about during your research with reference sources?

Like the research process, developing keywords is an iterative process, so don't panic if your first keywords don't produce the results that you were expecting.

Below are some resources from other libraries with further tips for developing keywords

Citation Chaining/Mining

In addition to searching in Discovery and in different databases on your own, another search strategy for finding resources utilizes the information that you gather through that searching. Nearly all scholarly sources, and many other reputable sources of information, will include Works Cited, Reference, or Bibliography pages (some will also include footnotes or endnotes). These are treasure troves of likely relevant resources to your topic. This method of searching, referred to as Citation Chaining or Citation Mining, can also be useful for figuring out the prominent scholars in a particular field. Dissertations and theses can be excellent resources for Citation Mining because their bibliographies tend to be very thorough.

MLA International Bibliography Tips

What is MLA International Bibliography?

The Modern Language Association, MLA, is the principal professional organization for scholars of language & literature. The MLA Bibliography database contains almost 3 million citations. This database is NOT a full-text database so you may need to use Interlibrary Loan to request full-text access to some of the articles you find. 

This is a top database for finding critical articles, books, and dissertations covering the fields of: language, literature, linguistics, folklore, film, literary theory & criticism, and dramatic arts. Users who want to master using this database should complete the free online course below to learn more about the advanced searching options available in this database. 

Tips for using MLA International Bibliography

If you are looking for articles on a specific text or specific author, using the "Browse Works" or "Browse Authors" search tools in the blue bar at the top of the page can help you do a really focused search. If you don't find results that way, then try a regular keyword search. 

In addition to these tips, we highly recommend that you take the tutorial below to learn more about using this rich, but complex database.

Google and Google Scholar Search Tips