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ENWR 1510: The Art of Food Writing

Research guide for students in Katie Rice's Spring 2020 ENWR 1510 classes

Preparing for Research

Once you have a general topic in mind for your paper, 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 (food AND literature) and OR (bugs OR insects). 
    In many databases, the asterisk (*) is a truncation or "wildcard" symbol  that will match all possible endings for a word stem.  For example, sex* will match sexism, sexual, sexuality, sexualize, 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 a book? An article? A newspaper? A documentary? An interview? 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. 
  • 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

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.

ProQuest offers UVa faculty, staff, and students access to 35 separate databases, covering numerous fields from the hard sciences to social sciences, as well as newspapers, government records, and statistical data.

JSTOR includes older issues of scholarly journals, from the start to 3-5 years ago.

Hospitality & Tourism Complete Includes journals, newsletters, industry reports, and some books covering topics such as culinary arts, development & investment, food & beverage management, hospitality law, hotel management & administrative practices, leisure & business travel.

Humanities International Complete Indexes over 2000 journals with full text for over 700 and for books and other publications. Topics covered include archaeology, art, dance, drama, ethnic and women's studies, history, literature, music, philosophy, poetry, religion.

Health Source: Consumer Edition Magazines, pamphlets and reference books covering a wide range of health topics. Includes a drug guide and a medical dictionary.

Agricola Locate articles, books, tech reports, software, patents, etc. about agriculture and related life sciences including food and nutrition.

Oxford English Dictionary

Includes definitions for most of the words in the English language but also information on their origins and quotations showing their range of meanings from the time they entered the language to the present.

Finding books & articles using Virgo

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.  

Sample searches:    

  • Choose "Catalog only" search
  • Search for michael pollan; and
  • Select Pollan, Michael from the Author facet to find books written by the author; OR
  • Select Food Habits from the Subject facet if you want books about food habits; OR
  • Select Ebook from the Format facet to limit to books are available online; OR
  • Select Fine Arts from the Library facet to find books housed in the Fine Arts Library. 

Possible Books of Interest