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ENMC 3500: Contemporary Fictions

Madigan Haley · Spring 2016

General research tips

  • Fine-tune your search using
    • Filters or facets: allow you to narrow your results by source, subject, date range, etc.  
    • Wildcards: in many search engines, the asterisk is a truncation symbol that will match all possible endings for a word stem; i.e. histor* will match history, historical, historicism, historiography, etc.
    • Booleans: combine search terms using AND (gender AND identity), OR (black OR african american) and NOT (organ NOT music).
  • When you find a good source, use it to find other good sources.  Use the subject terms and keywords associated with an item to find other items on the same topic.  Scholarly books and articles will have bibliographies and footnotes that you can mine for additional resources.
  • If you're not finding what you need, ask a librarian for help.  The library staff may be able to suggest additional sources that are directly related to your paper topic. 

Finding library materials

Virgo, the U.Va. Library’s primary search tool, contains catalog records for books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials, as well as links to online articles from our rich array of subscription journals.  You can search catalog materials and articles together, or view those results separately, using the "facets" provided to limit your results by author, format, publication period, and more.  

Research using library databases

The U.Va. Library subscribes to hundreds of databases that contain scholarly resources not available on the free web.  Access to most of these databases is restricted to current members of the U.Va. community; when you are off Grounds, you will be prompted to sign in with NetBadge when using these resources (see the Off-Grounds Access link for more information).

The best way to connect to the library's databases is through the research portal.  This page provides a brief list of the most commonly used databases, as well as links to a complete A-Z listing of all our databases.  In addition, library subject specialists have created a research guide for each academic department here at U.Va., which lists the most important databases for conducting research in that discipline.  American Studies draws upon many other disciplines; the guides for English, History, Sociology, AnthropologyWomen's Studies, and Art and Art History may be useful for this course. 

While many databases contain full text articles, others are indexes that provide citations for articles, but not the articles themselves.  If you see an article citation without the full text, look for the Find @ U.Va. link or button, which will search all of our online content for a copy of the article.  Some articles aren't available online, but are available in print journals that can be found through VIRGO.  If the library doesn't have the article either online or in print, you can request a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Sources for scholarly journal articles (interdisciplinary)

Sources for scholarly journal articles (discipline-specific)

Sources for Critical & Cultural Theory

Evaluating your sources

Evaluate books:

  • By press
    • University presses usually best for humanities & social science research
    • There are many other reputable academic presses, but some of variable quality
    • The fact that U.Va. owns a particular book is usually a good measure of its quality
  • By reviews
  • By number of citations
  • By author reputation
    • Academic affiliation
    • Other works published
    • Web site/CV

Evaluate articles

Citation resources