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Research Guides

Fall 2022 ENG 1900-2 Introduction to Literature and Criticism: Reference Materials and Book Searching

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HamCat Search



Examples of Individual Library Reference Titles

Using HamCAT will allow you to locate both "reference or background resources" on your topic, as well as journal, magazine and newspaper articles, and videos on your topic.

What terms (or subject headings) should I use when searching?
Make sure you understand which terms to use when searching. Using the right terms will help you locate content, in both academic and popular sources. Here are some example subject headings that you'll find in HamCAT. Consider mixing these terms with other terms that describe your research topic. Remember that not all terms have been used over time. Some terms are newer, some have changed over time. Think about synonyms for terms. 

  • Think about literary movements that the works you are reviewing fell into, for example
    • Gothic Literature
    • Horror
    • Dark Fiction
  • Think about literary themes,  techniques and the contexts used by the author or that influence how the work is viewed historically, intellectually, and culturally. For example:
    • Gender
    • Monsters
    • Racism
    • Supernatural
    • Monsters in literature

Remember to use quotation marks around a phrase when searching to help the search engine identify that you want those words in a particular order in your search results. For example, "female authors"


Examples of Individual Library Reference Titles

Why Use Reference Resources?

Bush Library provides you access to many encyclopedias and dictionaries in online and print formats.
By using with these resources you will:

  • Obtain background information on your topic (e.g., person, event, theory, terminology, etc.)
  • Identify additional search terms to use when searching for book and article resources, and
  • Find citations to other works (e.g., books, articles) providing longer, more detailed coverage of the topic.

TIPS for using Reference Materials

HINT: Often signed encyclopedia or handbook articles (references sources) are written by experts who have written other texts (books, articles, blog posts, etc.) You can search for those authors in HamCAT or Google to discover some of their other works. Reference sources often also have a Further Reading section or a Bibliography at the end of them, with other sources on your topic, that can be worth exploring. 

Other Books of Interest