Use the research tools and links in this guide to find secondary source materials on your primary work.
* 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.
Researching Your Topic
1. Guide to Literary Research, Writing and Critical Reading (EBSCO)
– This EBSCO research guide covers the basics of how to research your topic.
3. Check the A-Z Subject guides
- Subject guides are a good place to get started. They will give you an overview of the topic.
Example: English Language and Literature -This guide offers access to literary content and analysis.
4. Use Concept maps to organize, and craft creative ideas. Concept mapping can help you narrow your topic and
find related terminology to use in a search query string:
- VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) (Tufts University)
- See Concept mapping (Royal Roads University) for other mapping tools
Use reference materials such as bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and guides to locate relevant information on a topic.
Suggested Reference Resources:
- A dictionary of contemporary world history by Riches, Christopher(2016)
- A Dictionary of critical theory by Buchanan, Ian (2018)
- A Dictionary of world history by Oxford University Press (2006-)
- Key Concepts in Literary Theory by Julian Wolfreys et. al. (2016)
- Postcolonial Literatures in Context by Julie Mullaney (2010)
The Oxford Companion to United States History by Paul S. Boyer (2001-)
- Cambridge Companion to...
Handbooks dedicated to single authors or literary movements. Best to use keywords to narrow the results
- Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century by Wolfgang Bernard, Fleischmann (1975) (vols. 1-4)
- An Introduction to Literary Studies by Mario Klarer (2004)
- Nineteenth-century literature criticism by Thomson Gale (Firm) (1981-)
In the context of analyzing literature, these are the different literary genres:
- Epic Poetry
- Lyric Poetry
Browsing for a Genre
Consult the following electronic reference resources for ideas:
- A Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick (2001)
- A New Handbook of Literary Terms by David Mikics (2007)
- The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms by Peter Childe ; Roger Fowler (2006)
- The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick (2015)
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 Omni to find additional titles:
- Literature -- Terminology
- Literary form - Terminology
- Literature -- Themes, motives -- Terminology
- Criticism - Terminology
- English language - Terms and phrases
This guide lists resources and works, as well as reference materials containing background analysis about the 20th Century period. This era is also called Modernism. For information about other literary periods, see Literary Periods and History Timeline.
Below is a selection of books in the library:
- Daily modernism by Elizabeth Podnieks (2000)
- Encyclopedia of Literary Modernism by Paul Poplawski (2003)
- Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes by Jonathan Rose (2010)
- T.S. Eliot in Context by Jason Harding (2011)
- Fragmenting Modernism : Ford Madox Ford, the Novel, and the Great War by Sara Haslam (2018)
- Outsiders Together : Virginia and Leonard Woolf by Natania Rosenfeld (2000)
- Ethics and Aesthetics in European Modernist Literature by David Ellison (2001)
To find other books about literary Modernism, use Subject heading: Modernism (Literature)
Tip: Add the word “sources” to a keyword search to find information on the event, author or period:
For example: Philip Roth sources OR James Joyce sources
A few other key phrases to mention:
“History and criticism” – use to locate a type of literature, author, or place
For example: American literature - African-American authors - History and criticism
“in literature” – Result list finds books about the topic or place and its treatment in literature
For example: Women in literature
“intellectual life” – Finds information about the culture in a particular place and time or among people:
For example: Harlem Renaissance intellectual life
“literary history” - Use to search about a topic or place
For example: Caribbean literary history
Primary Sources (Books/Ebooks)
In the study of English literature, the actual text is the primary source.
Use Omni to locate the literary work. Select Books or E-Books from the drop down menu. Enter the author's name with the surname first and type the title in the search box.
If you do not have a specific resource in mind, try a keyword/subject search.
Tip: Once you find one or more good resources, look at the SUBJECT headings that have been used to describe them. Follow those SUBJECT heading links to find related resources.
Suggested Subject Headings
- English fiction - History and criticism - 20th century
- Modernism (Literature) - Great Britain
Other tips: Remember to include Boolean operators, AND, OR, NOT in your search query to obtain meaningful results:
Example: Wilfred Owen NOT Rupert Brooke
Current students, faculty and staff can use our Interlibrary Loans service or complete a RACER request to borrow items not owned by MacOdrum Library.
Secondary Sources (Journal Articles, E-journals, Newspapers, etc.)
General Searching in the Databases
If you are looking for articles by a particular author, select AUTHOR from the drop-down list.
If you are searching for a particular article, enter the title and select TITLE from the drop-down list.
For KEYWORD/SUBJECT or key phrase searching, most database search engines encourage you to put your related terms (OR searching) in the same row, and your unrelated concepts (AND searching) in separate rows. For more search tips, see Omni Search Tips.
If you know which journal you would like to consult, look up the title of the journal (NOT the title of the article) in Omni. If you do not have a particular journal in mind, you should consult a database.
If you do not know which database to use, go to databases by subject.
Tip: Most databases provide a way to restrict the results of a search to peer-reviewed or academic articles. This may be done differently from database to database: check the Help pages for more information.
Consult the News Guide for details of news sources.
Tips for searching newspaper databases.
Modernism - Sites
This site includes modern and post-modern literary criticism
- Modernism Lab (Yale University)
"The Modernism Lab, a virtual space dedicated to collaborative research into the roots of literary modernism, was compiled from 2005 to 2012." (from website)
- The Modernist Journals Project
"The Modernist Journals Project is a major resource for the study of modernism in the English-speaking world, with periodical literature as its central concern." (from website)
Poetry - Sites
- Library of Congress Poetry Resources
- The Poetry Archive
- The Poetry Foundation
- Poet's House
- Discovering Literature: 20th Century
“Explore the ways in which key 20th-century authors experimented with new forms and themes to capture the fast-changing world around them.(British Library website)
Remember to always evaluate any information or website before using it as a source for your research.
Tip: Ask and answer the 5 W's of Journalism: Who, What, Where, When and How when gathering and evaluating your information.
Excellent help is available!
- Purdue Online Writing Lab - from Purdue University. Explore the sections in this lab:
Search Omni by Subject under Academic Writing.
- Help is available on campus at Writing Services.
Others aids for writing include:
- Check out the Plagiarism.org website for more information
- Academic Integrity @ Carleton University
- Take the Academic Integrity Quiz based on the rules of citation
- The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism by Colin Neville (2010)
- MLA Citation Style
- What’s New in the Eighth Edition
- The MLA Style Center (official site)
- Cite Your Sources MLA Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue OWL).
- Concordia University MLA Guide
- A Student's Writing Guide : How to Plan and Write Successful Essays by Gordon Taylor (2009)
- Sin Boldly! Dr. Dave's Guide to Writing the College Paper by David R. (David Rose) Williams (2004)
- Writing at university : a guide for students by Phyllis Creme (2008)
- Grammar Essentials by Geraldine Woods ; Joan Friedman (2019)