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Literature and Literary Research

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

What's in the Guide


In the library, we have no doubts that you are a great Googler, but when it comes to literature papers, we bet that part of your research journey gets a bit rocky. 
We have highlighted some helpful research items such as:

CC image from flickr user dbbent

Finding Books: Tips for searching to obtain the items you need.

Finding Articles: Access to articles from numerous databases and websites.

Biographies: Great ways to track down information about your authors.

Reviews: Links to great perspectives on a body of work.

Special/Digital Collections: Hidden gems of the web and library.

Working Smarter: Get help on your project.

MLA: The essentials.  

Pen to Paper by flickr user dbbent

Library Resources vs. Google

You want to use library resources for your literature papers because:

  1. People who are writing about literature tend to publish in books, encyclopedias, scholarly journals -- most which aren't available for free on the web.
  2. Articles in scholarly journals have been edited and vetted by peers in the field.
  3. Articles in encyclopedias can provide good basic information, the most accepted thoughts on a subject, and lists of bibliographies.
  4. Using library resources is fun and easy -- try it!

Getting Started

Conducting literary research can take many paths. A few questions before you begin:

  • What is your instructor is asking you to do -- analysis using a particular theory, a combination of approaches, original analysis, interpretation, or something else?
  • What kinds of sources are required? Are any off limits?
  • Do you need primary and secondary sources?