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Assignment | Essay 4 Literary Analysis (Izaguirre): Finding Your Sources

Spring 2020 | ENGL 1302 (Prof. L. Izaguirre) - Essay #4

Scholarly Articles

Literature Databases

Be sure you're using literary analysis/critical essays, not overviews of the work! Also consider looking at the author's writing style/craft -- even if you can't find analysis of your piece, you'll probably find analysis of the author which you can match to their writing.

Non-Literary, Non-Scholarly

You might find a magazine article about the work, or perhaps a review of a play (if applicable), or a review of the book collecting short stories from the author.

Even More Databases:

Consider which disciplines apply to your specific topic when choosing your databases.

DatabasesResearch Databases (Main Page)

Databases (Searchable List)

Ebooks & Books

E-Books

The ebook collections offer several advantages: instant online-access, no need to check-out the book, and you can easily search inside to jump to your search terms.

No Encyclopedias

No encylopediasEncyclopedias serve to give general overviews and summaries of topics. They don't get into the in-depth information you should be seeking for a college-level research paper.

Examples of encyclopedias include: Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, SparkNotes, and any other source that only provides that shallow level of information (including the library database Credo Reference!).

Shallow vs Deep Information

Shallow information is trivia: e.g. this book was published in 1974, the main characters are these, the basic plot is this... This is good to know and informs your deeper analysis! But it's not the thoughtful analysis you want to focus on.

No Random Websites / Focus on .edu, .gov

No random websitesResearch means more than just Googling some likely terms and picking something easy off the first page of results. Consider:

Besides keywords, there are an estimated 200 factors that affect Google's page rankings, including:

  • sites paying to promote their pages,
  • what computer and browser you're using,
  • when the site was last updated,
  • how the site is structured,
  • what other people have clicked on or linked to,
  • and even what kind of pages you've searched for in the past.

Notice that "accuracy" or "reliability" don't make the list.

Authority comes from knowledge, not convenience.

A knowledgeable author writing for a reputable publication is good (even better if they're still citing their sources).

A random website with no discernible author and no sources provided? Keep moving.

You can streamline the quality of your Google searches by focusing on more credible domains like education (.edu) in your results.

  • .edu is mostly universities, but you'll sometimes come across some K-12 entities with this domain.
    • The big thing to watch out for is that you're not finding a student paper or project that's been posted on the university domain. Presumably their work is pretty good since it's being shown off publicly, but undergrads are not yet academic experts in their fields (sorry).
    • Master's theses or PhD dissertations are probably okay.

Still keep in mind the restriction on not using overviews and summaries!

 

Google has some advanced search commands to make this quicker. Just add site:___ to your search! E.g. site:nasa.gov or even just site:.edu. Try it below!

 

.edu
Google Web Search

Search Tips

  • "A Rose for Emily" - place quotes around the title if it's more than one word
  • When looking at a page or pdf, use Ctrl+F to search inside the document for your work.

Accessing the Databases

Access 100+ databases organized by subject area from the Research Databases page. Also try our dynamic, sortable database list!

Student ID BadgeTo access the databases locked icon (same icon that displays by the LSC-limited access resources) from off-campus, you must provide the 14-digit library barcode.

Don't have one yet? Request a barcode number online.

Finding Full-Text

If you discover an article that has no Full Text link, you still have options!

Evaluating Information

CRAAP test factors: Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, Purpose

The Three Rs

Is your source
Recent? Reliable? Relevant?

Is this source up-to-date? Is it about my topic, and does it go into enough depth? Does it come from an authoritative source? Is the information accurate (and are there citations given to back it up)? And why was this information written in the first place?