When looking for secondary, scholarly sources about historical events, periods, people, or social conditions depicted in a novel or story, choose search terms that represent those things. Using Dracula as an example again, imagine a researcher interested in the novel's depiction of changing roles for women, embodied by the character Mina (Murray) Harker. The researcher might choose search terms such as:
- Women, gender, women's liberation, women's rights, feminism, New Woman
- Roles, norms, careers, work, suffrage
- Victorian period, 19th century, 1890s, turn of the 20th century
At the heart of thinking of search terms is the idea of anticipating what words might appear in an article about your topic. Unlike primary source research, you'll want to think of words that are in use today.
These databases are good places to search for secondary, scholarly sources about historical periods, events, people, and issues.
These databases are good places to look for secondary, scholarly sources about social conditions, and might be useful for history research too.