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ENWR 1510: Rhetoric of the Supernatural

Research guide for students in Alexandra Kennedy's Spring 2020 ENWR 1510 class.

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 ("Black Panther" AND race) and OR (hero OR protagonist). 
    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

The 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. It is not a full-text resource, meaning that you can only search the description of an article, rather than the text of the article. To get the full text of an article, click on “Find article @ UVa Libraries”, or look up the journal title in VIRGO.

Communication & Mass Media Complete provides coverage of journals in communication, mass media, and other closely-related fields of study. It provides indexing and abstracts for more than 570 journals, and selected coverage of nearly 200 more, for a combined coverage of more than 770 titles. Furthermore, this database includes full text for over 450 journals.

Performing Arts Periodicals Database Lists articles from scholarly and popular periodicals covering dance, film, television, theater, opera, stagecraft, broadcast arts, storytelling and more. Some journals include full text.

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.

Film & 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 U.S. and internationally.

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.

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

Project Muse provides full-text searching of recent articles from major scholarly journals, including roughly 120 journals about literature. Like JSTOR, Project Muse is not as comprehensive as the MLAIB, but offers the advantages of full-text searching and instant access to PDFs.

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 timothy corrigan; and
  • Select Corrigan, Timothy 1951- from the Author facet to find books written by the author; OR
  • Select Film Criticism from the Subject facet if you want books about films; 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