This guide will help students gather sources to cite in their Literary Analysis with Research assignments in Professor Joyce Huff's ENG 444 course. It provides links to resources that contain encyclopedias and similar content, primary sources, literary criticism, and scholarly sources related to history, education, and social sciences. The resources were chosen ensure the guide will be useful to students no matter which type of project they have chosen.
Use the links on the left side of the guide to find lists of resources divided into separate pages for different kinds of information. Most of the resources are part of the University Libraries electronic collections; if you are working at a computer off campus, you will likely be prompted to log in them with your Ball State username and password. Some resources in this guide are freely available on the Internet.
It is often useful, before you begin searching for information, to think of potential search terms.
When looking for information about a literary work - a novel, short story, play, etc. - the title of that work and/or the author's name will often suffice.
Searching for information about a specific aspect of the story, or about the historical events, social conditions, or cultural milieus it depicts, requires formulating research questions and thinking about their main ideas. A person researching Dracula might be interested in the novel's themes of gender and morality, the ways in which the novel established conventions of vampires in popular culture, the extent to which Count Dracula was based upon Vlad III, or whether the book represents an example of "invasion literature." Whatever your topic is, and however many questions you want to investigate as part of your assignment, in order to manage your research, break your broad ideas into individual research questions. For example:
- How are gender and social norms depicted in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and what does the novel reveal about Victorian Britain?
- In what ways did Bram Stoker's Dracula define vampires and their characteristics as we known them today in popular culture?
- To what extent was Vlad III, a ruler of a Wallachia, the true inspiration for Count Dracula?
- Is Dracula an example of invasion literature, which was popular at the turn of the 20th century?
A researcher likewise should not attempt to search for answers to multiple questions at the same time. Rather, you should handle your research questions separately, one question at at time. Imagine again the Dracula researcher taking up the first question on their list. They could begin by thinking about the question's main ideas - which will become search terms. For example:
How are gender and social norms depicted in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and what does the novel reveal about Victorian Britain?
"Gender," "social norms," "Dracula," and "Victorian Britain" would be good search terms for this question. You can also think of synonyms for your main ideas. They will become alternate search terms. For example:
- Gender, gender roles, women's liberation, New Woman, Mina, Lucy
- Social norms, norms, mores, morality, class
- Dracula, Bram Stoker, vampire fiction
- Victorian Britain, England, 19th century
Alternate search terms do not need to be one-to-one interchangeable with your initial main ideas. They can be broader, narrower, or related terms.
After doing this for one research question, generate search terms for your other questions. The next step would be to search for sources - again, one question at a time. The rest of this guide discusses how and where to search for sources of various kinds.
Thinking of these words ahead of time will let you focus on your searches once you're working in a database, and prevent you from having to pause to think of additional terms.