GWS R1B: Blurring Binaries

How to use this tab

This course guide is created as a teaching tool and designed to be read as a unit. Doing so will provide the context for selecting the "right" resource and the techniques for manipulating it -- knowledge and skills that will support immediate and future research needs.

The notes in this tab contain suggestions about how to proceed with research based on your assignment. These suggestions build upon, and presume familiarity with, the general concepts addressed in the other tabbed sections of this course guide.

A research trajectory

  1. Decide text/film/topic you are interested in writing about.

  3. Review the suggested resources section, below.

  5. Select a resource whose content matches the kind of materials you are seeking to find and whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (meaning that publications in that discipline are likely to be writing about it).  Or...choose an interdisciplinary database.
  6. Search isolated resources (search tips below) to see what others have written on your topic, or what others are writing about that might suggest further topical refinement.

  8. Isolate promising database results to examine closely.

    Good practice:
    as you go, note any information you may need if you end up citing your findings.

Suggested resources


  • find books on your topic
  • find the periodicals you've already identified as having articles on your topic

Article databases (by SUBJECT)

  • identify article and essay content on your topic
  • identify current research
  • identify research focused on specific aspects of a topic
  • search for publications from a specific discipline
    • literature, psychology, womens studies, film studies, history, etc.
  • MLA is a recommended database for literary|film criticism
    • citation database / no full text
    • use UC-eLinks to locate result text

Article databases (GENERAL)

  • interdisciplinary
  • often have popular sources (magazine & news) as well scholarly
  • Academic Search Complete is one recommended resource
    • mix of popular and scholarly content
    • some results available online
    • has UC-eLinks feature
  • JSTOR is one recommended database
    • scholarly journals
    • full text resource
    • use advanced search mode (to narrow to specific discipline)
  • Google Scholar is one recommended resource
    • strength is scholarly journal literature
    • Use UC-eLinks to get full text
    • Enable UC-eLinks to display (via Scholar Preferences > Library links)

Encyclopedias (subject encyclopedias)

  • background on topic | biographical information on practitioner in field
  • Link path  = Library homepage > Electronic Resources > Subject > then review the left sidebar menu to see if there is a link to encyclopedias

    ...Literature > encyclopedias > Literature Resource Center
    • good for brief biography of literary authors
    • Use Person Search (results in tabs - see biographies)

A few search tips

  • Recommended Tips for searching databases (also consider limiting by language)
  • Catalog searching (for books about a topic)

    • search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
    • try different combinations of term, synonyms, related terms
    • look at the record for a relevant result -- do its subjects suggest other search terms
    • try adding the term criticism to your search, to locate literary analysis
    • try adding terms for specific types of materials:  encyclopedias, biographies...

      Sample keyword searches...

      gender identity
      queer communities
      gays and social conditions and united states
      islam and homosex*

      winterson and criticism

      barbin and biography
      gender and encyclo*

    • Limit by language - use modify search button
    • Limit by material type - change default search of Entire Collection
      to seach by type or location -- i.e. Films/Videos
    • If your search is too broad - use Modify button for available limits
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Last Update: June 01, 2011 16:09