A CRASH COURSE IN FINDING EXCELLENT SOURCES

It seems in the age of the web that a student’s first instinct when researching a topic is to Google it. This is NEVER the most efficient and productive method WHEN DOING SCHOLARLY RESEARCH. When beginning to search out secondary sources for this paper, use the following sites and tips:

THE MARVEL DATABASE:

Academic Search Premier: Provides full text for nearly 4,000 scholarly publications of which 3,100 are peer reviewed. Academic areas of study include: social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.

Contemporary Authors: A bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television and other fields.

Contemporary Literary Criticism Select: Critical and biographical essays on authors currently living or who died after 1959. CLC Select may be searched separately or simultaneously with Contemporary Authors and the

Dictionary of Literary Biography: Provides nearly 10,000 biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, and careers of the world"s most influential literary figures from all eras and genres.

MasterFILE Premier: A broad range of topics including general interest, business, health and multi-cultural, designed specifically for the public library.

NetLibrary: A collection of 7,885 ebooks (4,480 Netlibrary titles and 3,405 Project Gutenberg titles). Users may view ebooks online in 15 minute intervals. Users who wish to view ebooks remotely, or check out an ebook for a four hour loan period, must create a Netlibrary account.

Scribner Writers: Scribner Writer"s Series includes 15-20 page signed essays on more than 1,600 authors and literary genres.

Twayne's Author Series: Offers critical introductions to the lives and works of writers, to the history and influence of literary movements, and to the development of literary genres.

Gale Literature Databases Includes: Twayne"s Authors Series, Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, Dictionary of Literary Biography, and Scribner"s Writers Series.

TO FIND ACTUAL BOOKS: Don’t forget to check our own T.A. Library and Academic Commons; there are many wonderful reference materials that may be useful to you. If not then continue on to the MAINECAT system. This will allow you to search all the libraries in the state of Maine.

GOOGLE SCHOLAR can be useful too when looking for compelling sources. I have had quite a bit of luck finding journal articles by typing in a search term, skimming through the list of choices and when I find one I like I either see if the library can get it for me or sometimes I can find it by simply typing the title of the article into ACADEMIC PREMIER SEARCH. One other tip: Advanced Scholar Search allows you to limit your subject and look for material specific to your topic. It also allows you to narrow your dates.

GOOGLE BOOKS is another great resource and when playing around with it last night, it just got a little bit better! Type in your search term and preview the books online before you decide to order them through interlibrary loan. For example, if you are researching Ian McEwan’s Atonement, a search term of Ian McEwan AND Atonement AND interpretation yields you 95 results. Some of these you can use online, others will only give you a preview. A new feature allows you to put a zip code in to see which local library has a copy. AMAZON.COM works in a similar fashion.

Research: the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

Key words in this definition:
systematic- done or acting according to a fixed plan or system; methodical investigation- formal examination

RESEARCH IS HARD: IT TAKES HOURS TO FIND YOUR RESULTS; IT REQUIRES A PROCESS OF TRIAL AND ERROR; IT REQUIRES A FLEXIBILITY TO SHIFT GEARS AND CHANGE FOCUS; IT WILL NOT SIMPLY JUMP OFF THE INTERNET AND YOU WILL NEED TO SCOUR FOR HOURS.

RESEARCH IS MESSY: OFTEN TIMES YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING UNTIL YOU GET THERE!