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English 2100: Writing About Literature: Form and Genre

Scholarly Sources

One of the first steps in research is to find out where the scholarly conversation is going on. These databases are entry points to these discussions. They overlap to some extent, but each has unique content as well. Specialized subject databases are designed to facilitate searching in that discipline, using special search features and subject-specific terminology.

As you search, besides gathering interesting materials, keep an eye on authors' names, where they're publishing, any special terminology in the descriptor or subject heading fields. Look at the citations in articles to see what sorts of sources experienced scholars use and how they build on earlier research. As you do your research, a sort of map of the discussion around your topic will begin to emerge.

NOTE: Online databases became more common in the 1990s. They don't always cover the 19th century or earlier 20th century well.
NOTE: Minority voices have often been excluded from common discourse. We've been acquiring specialized databases that try to fill this gap. Be aware of the missing voices in your research.
NOTE: Subject tagging and titles often reflect broad topics--authors, novels, themes. They may not mention specific poems, songs, or short stories. Full-text searching will help locate discussion on more specific items, but not everything is available for full-text searching.

Discover@MU is our main search tool on our home page. It searches the inventory of all the UM System libraries--print materials, video, sound recordings, ebooks, online journals--as well as MOST (but NOT all) of our databases. It uses the most basic search options common to all these resources. Starting with a more specific database will offer more specialized search options.

NOTE: The MLA International Bibliography is included in Discover@MU, but the other major literary database, Literature Online, is NOT.

The full text is often included in Discover@MU and other databases. When it's not, click on Find it @ MU to locate a copy of the article online, in the library, or through ILL@MU.

Online Book & Media Collections

Background Information

Daniel Boone Regional Library

Our local public library has additional online resources available to anyone with a local library card. These include reference databases such as the Literature Resource Center as well as e-books and streaming music and video (see Download & Stream). It's also a fun place to hang out and an easy walk from campus.
If you have a library card from your home public library, check out their online resources too.