Use this guide to find writing resources to improve writing skills, as well, learn how to find credible information in books, library databases and websites.
* NEW * Videos and resources produced by Ryan Tucci, First Year Experience Teaching and Learning Technician at MacOdrum Library.
We [I] would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.
Listed below are good guides to doing literary research and writing about literature:
- Can I Change Your Mind? The Craft and Art of Persuasive Writing / Lindsay Camp (2007)
- Thinking on the page a college student's guide to effective writing / Gwen Hyman (2015)
- Writing at university : a guide for students / Phyllis Creme and Mary R. Lea (2008)
- Writing Services (Centre for Student Support)
Use reference materials for background information for your topic, or to find good keywords to use when searching databases. These are dictionaries, encyclopedias, guides, bibliographies, indexes and abstracts.
To find reference materials in Omni, perform a KEYWORD/SUBJECT search
for example: english literature AND encycl*
Encyclopedias and dictionaries are very useful to get an overview of topics and explanations of key terms and concepts of a subject area.
- Oxford Reference (Online) Gateway to dictionaries and encyclopedias in many disciplines.
- Sage Knowledge Encyclopedias
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
- Literature Resource Center
Use Omni to find books, government documents, conference proceedings, journals and journal articles. Tip: Not all journal articles are included in the library's search tool: use the databases to search for individual article titles.
If you know the title of the item you seek, perform a TITLE search.
If you know the author, perform an AUTHOR search. Enter the author's name with the surname first.
Otherwise, choose from the drop down menu or try a KEYWORD, the default option.
Join concepts together using AND and OR.
Use AND when the concepts are not related such as culture AND women. This narrows the search as both of those words must be in the information that is being returned.
Use OR when the concepts are similar, and it does not matter which word is found in the information that is being returned.
For instance, female OR woman. This broadens the search.
Use truncation when you want to allow for several spellings or variations on a word. For instance, cultur* will retrieve culture, cultures, cultural, etc..
Once you find one or more good books, look at the SUBJECT headings that have been used. Follow those SUBJECT heading links to find related books.
Other Search Tools:
- Canadian Publishers Collection Includes major Canadian University Presses, among them the University of Toronto Press, the UBC Press, Les Presses de l'Université du Québec and McGill-Queen's University Press.
- eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
- Ebook Central includes ebooks from Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Taylor & Francis
- UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004 Collection from University of California Press on a wide range of topics.
See a full list of eBook collections.
Look for a Subject Guide on the discipline of your topic. Explore multiple guides when a topic is multidisciplinary.
Relevant Subject Guides include
- Canadian Studies
- English Language and Literature
- Gender Studies
- Women's and Gender Studies
Select Journals tab or Databases Tab to see a list of relevant indexes and databases.
Also consult multidisciplinary databases such as:
The Oxford Guide to Library Research (2015) by Thomas Mann is one of the most essential books for learning how to formulate a research question and then go about answering it. Previous edition: (2005) (online)
The Concise Oxford Companion to English literature / Daniel Stringer, Hahn, et. al. (2007)
Literary Theory, An Introduction / Terry Eagleton (2008)
Theory of Literature / Paul H. Fry (2012)
Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism / Michael Groden, Martin Kreiswirth (1994)
Consult the following reference resources for ideas:
- The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms / Chris Baldick (2015)
- A New handbook of literary terms / (2007) David, Mikics (2007)
- Key Concepts in Literary Theory / Julian Wolfreys et. al. (2016)
Searching for a Genre:
Construct a key phrase such as “American fiction” and try it in Omni. You will obtain results about fiction in general and about specific fiction with this particular topic.
Tip: Click the hyper-linked subject headings in the new search tool to find additional titles:
Library Discovery Search Tool
Use Omni to find books, eBooks, newspapers, films, grey literature, conference proceedings, journals and journal articles. Only certain journal articles are included in the search tool. Use the databases to search for individual article titles.
Begin with a KEYWORD search.
Suggested Subject Headings
- Short stories, American - History and criticism
- Feminism - Bibliography
- Magic realism (Literature)
- Postmodernism - Bibliography
Finding Book Reviews
- Book Reviews
- in Gale Literature and MLA International Bibliography limit your results to Book Reviews
- JSTOR - Search Advanced Search and then Narrow By Item type: Review.
- New York Times: Book Review
- Book Review Digest Retrospective 1908 - 1982