English 111 – C. Walker

art image of figure with text covering the body

CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 image from DeviantArt by james119

About this Guide

This guide provides recommended print and online resources for students to conduct research for the Research Project for English 111 with Cynthia Walker. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

A 2000-word research paper exploring the social, cultural, or economic context that produced a work of literature. Analyze how you think the real world context influenced the main ideas in the book, combining historical research and literary analysis.

Paper Writing Assistance

About SBCC’s Writing Center
Learning Resource Center Writing Tools Online

Need More Help?

If you need more help with research, ask a librarian! Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help. Find our contact information on the right side of this page.Contact Us

Library Tutorials

Interested in learning more about the library on your own? Explore the library’s online tutorials.

Choosing Keywords to Use in Your Search

The words you use to describe a topic may be different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help choosing the best keywords to use in your search. Consider some of these search strategies:

Tips:

  • Make a list of synonyms that describe your topic. For example, if you are researching gender roles, also consider the term sex roles. If you are researching the 1950s, also consider the term postwar era.
  • For literary analysis of an author’s work, search for the author’s name and the word criticism. For example: Plath and criticism, or Rich and interpretation, or Sexton and analysis.

Finding Background Information

Reference sources are an excellent starting point for your research. They can provide background information, and help you identify keywords to use when searching for books and articles.

Online Reference Sources

These reference sources are available online and may require you to log in with your Pipeline account information:

Print Reference Sources

The following books are available in the Luria Library Reference section:

    Art & Photography

    • The Dictionary of Art — R 703 T948d
    • The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art — R 709.73 M377g 2011
    • The Oxford Companion to the Photograph — R 770.3 L566o

    Film

    • The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film — R 791.43 T552e
    • Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film — R 791.4303 G761s

    Literature

    • Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia — R 803 B465b 2008
    • Novels for Students — R 809.3 G151n
    • Critical Survey of Long Fiction — R 809.3 M194c
    • The Oxford Companion to American Literature — R 810.3 H325o
    • Modern American Literature — R 810.9 C975m
    • Dictionary of Literary Biography — R 810.9 M996
    • Latino and Latina Writers — R 810.9868 W517l
    • Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature — R 810.9896 O85g

    Music

    • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians — R 780.03 G884 2001
    • The Harvard Dictionary of Music — R 780.3 R191n 2003
    • The Oxford Companion to Music — R 780.3 S368 2002

Online Reference Sources

These reference sources are available online and may require you to log in with your Pipeline account information:

Finding Books

Search the library catalog (books+) for books on your topic. Your results list may include print books held here in the library, ebooks you can access online, and articles. Use the limiters in the left column to limit your search to books.

Finding Articles

Search for articles in the library databases. These resources will require your Pipeline account information when you access them off campus. See the Luria Library’s database descriptions page for a full list of library databases.

Literature Databases

These literature databases will provide you with both biographical information about authors and criticism of their works:

  • Artemis
    Includes primary sources, critical articles, literary and cultural analysis, and biographies.
  • JSTOR
    Includes full text articles from scholarly journals in all subject areas. You can find literary criticism by searching for the title of the work you are writing about, along with terms like “criticism,” “analysis,” or “interpretation.” Then choose “Language & Literature” from the Subjects menu to the left of your search results.
  • MagillOnLiterature Plus
    Contains information about literary works and authors. Includes biographical essays and lists of authors’ principal works.

Tip: For searches in either of these databases, include both the literary work (or author) and the theme in your search. For example: The Bell Jar and gender roles; or Sylvia Plath and gender roles.

Other Databases

  • Academic Search Premier
    Provides full text and peer-reviewed articles for nearly 4,000 journals, magazines and newspapers in all subject areas.
  • Project MUSE
    Includes the full text of 400 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences.
  • JSTOR
    Includes full text articles from scholarly journals.
  • ARTstor
    Includes digital images of works of art.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

Recommended Websites

For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.