FRENCH R1B: French Language & Identity

This tab

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 concepts and processes addressed in the Choosing a resource tab of this guide.

A suggested research trajectory

  1. Review information in Choosing a Resource tabMake sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and materials they provide.
  2. Review suggested resources in this tab.
  3. Select a resource that has the kind of materials you are seeking to find and whose disciplinary focus maps to your topic (i.e. publications in that field are likely to be writing about your topic).  Or... choose a General (interdisciplinary) database.
  4. Search to see what's been written about your topic -- or what issues others are writing about in regards to a topic that might help you refine your focus.
  5. Examine promising results (remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing them).

Suggested resources


  • find books on your topic
  • find periodicals already identified as having articles on your topic

Article databases

  • find articles and essays on a topic
  • find research focused on an aspect of a topic
  • find current research

  • Subject specific databases (for publications from a specific discipline)  

    1. determine disciplines relevant to your topic
    2. view databases by subject
    3. review descriptions, paying special attention to Recommended databases


      history > Historical Abstracts
      education > Eric
      French Studies > Francis
      linguistics > MLA International Bibliography
      literature > MLA International Bibliography
      sociology > Sociological Abstracts

  • General databases (for publications from many disciplines)    

    • Academic Search Complete
      • popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics, magazine/news content in addition to academic journals)
      • some results available online
      • has UC-eLinks feature

    • Google Scholar
      • strength is scholarly journal literature
      • use UC-eLinks to get full text, 
        [ but you must first enable UC-eLinks - 
        via Settings gear > Library links ]

    • JSTOR
      • scholarly journals
      • full text resource
      • use advanced search (to narrow to specific discipline, and set limits)

How to search

  • Search tips
    • it may also help to limit results by language
      (multi-language databases generally offer this limit)

  • Tips specifically for catalogs

    • for materials about a topic...
      • search 2 or 3 terms representing key concepts of your focus
      • there isn't a search that finds everything: try different combinations of terms, synonyms, related terms
      • look at the records of relevant results -- do their subjects suggest other search terms ?

        important:  subject terms are defined by the Library of Congress, and not always what you would expect. Examine relevant results to discover how your topic, time period, people, etc., is defined. Use that terminology to search for other materials on that subject.

      • for materials about an author or literary movement, try adding the term criticism to your other search terms (see example below)
      • for specific types of materials, try adding terms for those types (encyclopediasbiographies, etc.) to your other search terms
        (see example below)

        sample keyword searches...
        obsessive-compulsive disorder
        compulsive behavior
        france and history and class
        elizabethan and society
        elizabethan* and custom*
        octavia butler and criticism
        kubrick and criticism
        eugene o'neill and biography

    • author search - finds books by, interviews with, correspondence...
      [use specified syntax last name, first name]
    • limit by material type - change the default search of Entire Collection
      to the desired type of material (Journals/Magazines/Newspapers, Films/Videos...)
    • search too broad ? Use Modify button to add relevant limits.

  • defining a topic
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Last Update: May 21, 2013 16:39