Finding Scholarly Sources
for English
ENGL 1020E
Christy Sich
October 16th, 2012
Huyette, Marcia. The Annotated Frankenstein.
Christy’s Literary Anecdote
Learning Objectives:
After today’s session, you should be able to...
• Develop a research topic
• Evaluate sources
• Choose the best research tools for your essay
• Get additional help when you need it
Looking at Sources
Group Activity (5 min)
What is it?
What do you know about the author(s)?
Can you tell where the author(s) get their
Would you use this source for a paper?
The Research Process
Wohlpart, A. James. “A Tradition of Male Poetics: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as an Allegory of
Art.” Midwest Quarterly 39, no. 3 (Spring 1998): 265:79.
Turning a Topic into a Search
Is the monster in Frankenstein a
depiction of male creativity?
Courtesy of Wikimedia
Constructing a Search
• Identify concepts and list synonyms
Frankenstein AND Shelley AND
(creativity OR imagination)
• Use truncation (insert * at end of root word)
• Connect keywords using AND and OR
Choosing the Best Resources
• Find books using the Library Catalogue
– look at the Tables of Contents when available
• Consult Western Libraries Program Guides
– Find subject-specific databases and reference tools
recommended by a librarian
Finding Books
Popular vs Academic Journals
• geared to a general, nonacademic audience
• covers a wide range of
popular interest topics
• usually glossy with
pictures and advertising
• does not usually contain
bibliographies and is not
Academic Journals
they contain original
research or experimentation
written by and for scholars
or specialists
further research sources are
cited with footnotes or a
bibliography at the end of
the article
they contain little, if any
Sometimes “refereed” or
“peer reviewed”
Modified from:
Peer Review / Referred Journals
Types of Databases
Types of Bibliographic Databases
Art Full Text
English Program Guide
• Use the English Program Guide to find
resources specifically geared to literature.
English Program Guide
The Mighty MLA
Why is searching the MLA International Bibliography
better than searching Google?
• Contains over 2.5 million records that pertain
specifically to language and literature.
• Includes publications not available on the Web.
• Professional indexing staff and scholars
• Materials covered come from reputable
publishers in over one hundred countries.
• Indexers use controlled vocabulary as subject
headings = more precise searching
• Each citation contains the information users
need to create a bibliography.
Source: Modern Language Association. “About the Database." 2005.
September 16, 2008 <>.
• Use this database to look up information
about a journal to discover whether it is
peer-reviewed / refereed or not
Should You Need More Help:
Thanks for Listening!

October 16th, 2013 - Western Libraries