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ENWR 1510: Monstrous Rhetoric

Research guide for students in Kaylee Lamb's Fall 2020 ENWR 1510 class.

Preparing for Research

This guide was created to help you prepare for research for your second essay assignment in ENWR 1510 and as a general guide to resources related to monsters and monstrous bodies. 

In preparation for your assignment, you should think some about possible questions/topics of interest to start your research -- use the Thinking Tool Worksheet on the left to help you brainstorm concepts and research questions related to your monster.  

You will also want to spend some time thinking about how you will conduct your research. 

  • Fine-tune your searches.
    Think broadly when brainstorming search terms. What synonyms or related terms could stand in for your key search terms?
    You can combine search terms using AND ("Frankenstein's monster" AND ethics ) and OR (Bigfoot OR Sasquatch). Place terms you want to be searched as a phrase in quotation marks " ". 
    In many databases, the asterisk (*) is a truncation or "wildcard" symbol  that will match all possible endings for a word stem.  For example, ethic* will match ethics, ethical, ethically, ethicist, etc. 
    Most databases have filters or facets that allow you to narrow your results by subject, date range, etc. Limit your searches to help you find the sources you need. 

  • Think about where you might find the type of information you are seeking.
    Will you find the research you need in an e-book? An article? A newspaper? A documentary? An interview? For this assignment, you will likely be looking for journal articles and/or essays/chapters from books. In general, though, when conducting research cast a wide net when looking for the types of resources that could help answer your research question or support an argument you are making. 

  • Know the difference between academic and non-academic sources, and when it's appropriate to use them.
    Most databases allow you to limit results to academic/scholarly/peer-reviewed sources. Be mindful of your assignment and what you're being asked to provide. Need a refresher? Watch the short video Peer Review in 3 Minutes.

  • 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 similar topics. Scholarly books and articles will have works cited, bibliographies, or footnotes you can mine for additional resources. 

Need help? Ask a librarian.  

Finding articles

The UVA Library has access to over 650 databases. Below are a few that might be useful for researching your monster of choice. I've divided the databases by broad categories. (See an A-Z list of all databases

Multidisciplinary databases for research on monsters: 

Academic Search Complete is a large general database of articles from scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers on many topics. Updated daily, it can be the best source for resources about very current topics.

The Social Science and Humanities Library provides online access to a broad range of journal content across 14 disciplines related to social sciences and humanities, including media and communication studies, library and information science, security and defense studies, business, management and economics, and education. Includes many journals published on behalf of associations, organizations, and societies related to these disciplines.

JSTOR includes older issues of scholarly journals in many disciplines including literature, from the start to 3-5 years ago.

Project Muse offers searchable full text of nearly 600 scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics, mostly from North American university presses. Older volumes are often available from JSTOR.

Monsters in Literature, Film, & Popular Culture:

MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) indexes the broadest range of resources about literature in all languages, as well as film, television, and popular culture, including over 4,000 journals as well as books and dissertations. For articles not available full-text in MLA, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries,” or look up the journal title in Virgo, the library catalog.

Film and Television Literature Index includes reviews of films and articles on theory, preservation and restoration, writing, production, cinematography, and technical aspects of both film and television in the US and internationally.

ProQuest One Literature  is for scholars who want to engage with an exhaustive and diverse set of scholarly resources around a given literary topic for research. It contains 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, dissertations, and more than 500,000 primary works – including rare and obscure texts, multiple versions, and non-traditional sources like comics, theater performances, and author readings.

Monsters in History: 

America History & Life covers the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to present with records from 2,000 English-language journals published worldwide.

Historical Abstracts covers articles about the history of the world from 1450 to the present, published in over 2,000 journals from many countries. (not the U.S. and Canada). 

Psychology of Monsters: 

Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection includes abstracts and full-text of almost 600 journals in psychology and related fields.

Finding books & articles using Virgo

Virgo, the UVA 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 - a regular search will provide tabs for books, articles, and other materials. You can also use the Filter tools on the left  to limit your results by author, format, publication date, and more. To find online, set the Availability filter to Online to limit your catalog search results. 

Example subject terms related to monsters:

  • Animals, Mythical
  • Cryptozoology 
  • Evil in Literature
  • Folklore 
  • Monsters 
  • Monsters in Literature 
  • Monsters in mass media
  • Monsters in motion pictures
  • Monsters in popular culture 
  • Monsters on television
  • Monsters -- Psychological aspects
  • Mythology 
  • Psycopaths in motion pictures 
  • Sea monsters
  • Serial murderers

Example E-Books of Possible Interest