ENGLISH R1B: Family, Society & Identity (FFP)

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 tips for finding historical background or literary analysis, below.

  3. Review the suggested resources, below

  4. Select a resource whose content matches 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.

  5. Search resources to see what's been written about your topic -- or what issues others are writing about in regards to a topic/author/work that might help you refine your focus

  6. Examine promising results (remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing them)

Suggested resources

UCB catalog: OskiCat

  • see choosing a resource tab > library catalogs section
  • find books on your topic
  • find periodicals you've identified as having articles on your topic

Article databases

  • see choosing a resource tab > article databases section
  • find articles and essays on a topic
  • find research focused on an aspect of a topic
  • find current research

  • For publications from a specific discipline, determine disciplines relevant to your topic and view databases by those subjects
    examples for history...
    America History & Life (US & Canada) and Historical Abstracts (rest of the world)
    are two recommended databases for historical research

    • can limit to results that focus on a historical time period
    • can refine search to specific types of publications
    • can limit by language
    • use UC-eLinks to locate result text

    example for literature...
    is a recommended database
    • can limit by type of source
    • can limit by language
    • use UC-eLinks to locate result text
  • For publications from many disciplines, use a General database
    Academic Search Complete
    • multi-disciplinary
    • popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics)
    • some results available online
    • has UC-eLinks

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

    • multi-disciplinary
    • scholarly journals
    • full text resource
    • use advanced search to set limits (or narrow to a discipline)

    Project Muse
    • multi-disciplinary
    • humanities and social science content
    • full text resource
    • search contents or browse by defined areas of research focus

Other resources:  Subject specific encyclopedias

  • see choosing a resource tab > other electronic resources section
  • to get background on a topic
  • example for literature... 
    Literature Resource Center
    • use Author search
    • view the biographies tab in the results' display

Finding historical background

  • Not already knowldegeable about the time period, social or cultural background? Consider starting with an encyclopedia entry.

  • Journal articles tend to focus on specific aspects of a specific topic. If you are looking for a broad overview of a historical time or social situation, books might be the ticket:

    • their table of contents and indexes will help you isolate the parts of interest
    • OskiCat will help you locate books at UCB
    • some article databases also contain results for books/book chapters in addition to articles in their subject area

Finding literary analysis

  • Very specific searches (specific focus about a specific character in a specific work) may not net the desired results. It's worth trying for a direct bullseye, but you may need to adjust your aim.

    • Search for analysis about the book, play, etc., being written about.  You'll see what others are focusing on.  You may find they use other terms relevant to your topic that can be searched to increase your result pool.

    • Search for analysis about the author you are writting about.  Your focus may be a thematic/technical element that shows up repeatedly in their work.  Materials that focus on authorial concerns may include information about your work, or be relevant to your analysis of it.

  • If the overall goal is to find analysis of an author's ideas and influence, and he/she is a philosopher, theologian, psychologist, visual artist, etc. -- you may also wish to explore recommended databases in those associated subject areas (in addition to those for literature)

  • In addition to looking for articles, if books have been written about your author or work, examining their table of contents and indexes can help isolate chapters of relevance.

    hint: when an author is well known and been written about for a long  time, you may find that results in article databases focus upon their influence on later works of literature. If this is the case, and, if it is not what you want, books can provide another way to find literary analysis focused more directly on your author & their work.

  • When searching a library catalog, try adding the term criticism to your search for materials about an author, literary movement, or time period (see OskiCat search tips, in this tab, for examples).

How to search

Last Update: January 09, 2014 15:09