Welcome! The purpose of this guide is to offer research help with a focus on resources that will be particularly useful to you as you navigate your English coursework and research. Looking for resources on creative or professional writing? Check out our English Creative and Professional Writing Guide!
Remember throughout your time at W&J, the library is here to help! Some frequent ways that we help English students are helping them find resources for their research project (including texts and resources about those texts), refining search strategies, and figuring out the most appropriate way to cite their sources.
Research is more than just searching for an answer and reporting that answer. For English researchers, it's an iterative process of asking questions, understanding how others have approached similar questions, and eventually drawing your own conclusions on what you believe the answer to be. If this feels overwhelming, don't be afraid to ask for help at any point during the process!
Gaining background information on a topic is a critical first step in the research process. Background information helps you learn more about your topic, identify important facts related to your topic (keywords, dates, events, history, and names and organizations), refine your topic, and find additional sources of information through bibliographies and works cited.
You might do this by conducting a Google search or going to Wikipedia and reading up on a text, author, or other subject. Below are some reference resources from the library that can also help you familiarize yourself with your topic.
As you start your research project, take some time to think about your topic and do some sample searching to get a feel for what is available and what might be more difficult to access. Watch this video for a good example on how searching can help you refine your topic.