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University Library

Literature and Literary Research

Researching literary works and/or biographical information on a particular author

Getting Help

Overwhelmed by research? There are many tools you can use to stay organized and on track.

The worst thing you can do when you are stuck and don't know what else to do is not get help. If you are having trouble with writing or research, reach out! Through email, chat, or in-person, there are people at the university that want to help you.

Starting with scholarly, peer-reviewed journals

What is a peer-reviewed journal?

  • communicate with others in same field - not general public
  • written by scholars (for the most part)
  • edited by peers not paid staff (peers are experts in a field)
  • journals appear quarterly, annually, or even lessoften
  • no glossy ads, layouts, images (for the most part)
  • many databases let you limit your search to peer-reviewed
  • do a quick search in Goggle to find home page of journal to get some info
  • when in doubt ask instructor or librarian 

Is it scholarly?

It can be a tough job to decide if information is accurate or authoritative, which is one reason why instructors and librarians often require or encourage you to look at scholarly (academic) sources. 

Curious? Are you thinking 'what is "peer review" anyway'? Watch our video describing Scholarly Journals and Peer Review.

Here are some tips to getting your hands on scholarly information:

  • Look for articles published in scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals.
  • Search for articles using the Library!
  • If you must use Google, use Google Scholar.
  • Look at cited reference lists and bibliographies found at the end of research articles and books.

Keeping Organized

There are several different free tools you can use to organize your research. A citation management tool lets you import citations (and sometimes PDFs), organize and sort them, and even generate a bibliography.