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
- Review the information in the Choosing a resource tab. Make sure you understand how the identified resources differ in the types of information and/or materials they can help you find.
- Review tips for finding literary analysis in this tab.
- Review suggested resources section of this tab.
- 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 it).
Or... choose a General (interdisciplinary) database.
- Search resource 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.
- Examine promising results.
- remember to note the information you'll need if you end up citing 'em
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
- 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
MLA 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
- popular and scholarly content (good for popular culture topics)
- some results available online
- has UC-eLinks
- scholarly journals
- full text resource
- use advanced search to set limits (or narrow to a discipline)
- Project Muse
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 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).