English 111 – Kilgore

"Dig" / Sadie Wendell Mitchell.

“Dig” / Sadie Wendell Mitchell.

About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in English 111 with Professor Kilgore.

Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment

A 6-8 page research paper about the author of a work of fiction or poetry that was assigned in class, and the work itself. Your research paper should try to determine the extent to which the author’s writings were influenced by events in the author’s life, should give some historical context to the work, and should look at the specific piece of writing (or writings) from the course and textbook and make connections to what you have learned.

Paper Writing Assistance:

Consult these campus resources for help with writing and editing:
About SBCC’s Writing Center
The SBCC Learning Resource center writing tools online

Need more help?

Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help.Contact Us

Choosing Keywords

Sometimes the words you use to describe a topic are too specific, or just different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. Before you search, try coming up with several ways to describe your topic.

For example, some other keywords for teenagers might be adolescents or youth.

Biographical Information

To find biographical information about an author, try adding the keyword biography to your search, as in:

    William Blake biography
    Sylvia Plath biography
    Tip: Print books in our library will have a call number beginning in the 900s if they include mostly biographical information, and a call number beginning in the 800s if they include mostly criticism and analysis of an author’s works.

Historical Context

To avoid being overwhelmed by too much information about the historical context in which your author wrote, try narrowing your results by including keywords related to specific aspects of the historical context that you think are most relevant. For example:

    19th century social life and customs
    Women 19th century social conditions
    World War I social aspects
    World War II politics and government

Literary Criticism

Keep in mind that you may not find literary criticism about the specific work(s) you are considering in your paper. Instead, try looking for criticism about your author’s work in general, by including terms such as “criticism,” “interpretation,” or “analysis” in your search. For example:

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman criticism
    James Baldwin analysis

Finding Background Information

Reference books are a good place to begin your research or to find inspiration for an assignment. The print reference books are available in the Luria Library Reference section. Ask a librarian for help finding a reference book for your topic.

Online Reference Books

To access this resource from off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

  • Credo Reference Contains the full text of over 760 encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books.


The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Search the library catalog for literary criticism on an author’s work, biographical information about the author, and information about the historical context in which the author wrote. Use some of the examples on the Keywords tab to help you construct an effective search.


Use these library databases to find periodical articles on your topic.

  • Academic Search Premier Provides full text for nearly 5,000 periodicals in a wide range of subject areas. Use this database to find biographical information and literary criticism about an author, and information about the historical context in which an author wrote.
  • America: History and Life with Full Text Covers the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Use this database to find information about the historical context in which an author wrote.
  • Artemis A great starting point for finding biographical information about authors and literary criticism about particular works or authors.
  • History Reference Center Covers all time periods of U.S. and World History. Use this database to find information about the historical context in which an author wrote.
  • JSTOR Contains articles from hundreds of scholarly journals covering a wide range of subjects. Use this database to find both literary criticism and information about the historical context in which an author wrote.
  • Project MUSE Provides complete, full-text versions of scholarly journals in a variety of subject areas. Use this database to find both literary criticism and information about the historical context in which an author wrote.

Evaluating Websites

Finding good websites for college research can be challenging and time-consuming. Be sure to evaluate any websites you find on your own, using the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information
  • Expertise: The source of the information
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information

Citation Guidelines

The following resources will help you construct MLA citations: