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ENWR 2510: Culture, Writing, Identity

Research guide for students in Tamika Carey's Fall 2020 ENWR 2510 advanced writing seminar.

Preparing for Research

This guide was created to help you prepare for research for your push project essay assignment and as a general guide to resources for researching life writing in its various forms and contexts. 

In preparation for your assignment, you should think some about possible questions/topics of interest to start your research. 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 ("life writing" AND visuals) and OR ("life writing" OR autobiography OR memoir OR blog). 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, autobio* will match autobiography, autobiographer, autobiographic, autobiographical, 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 or e-book? An article? A newspaper? A documentary? An interview? Depending on the requirements of your assignment, you may be looking for scholarly journal articles and/or essays/chapters from books, or you may look more broadly for credible information to meet your research need. In general, 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

Databases for Researching Literature

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@UVA,” or look up the journal title in Virgo, the library catalog.

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.

Literature Resource Center includes up-to-date biographical information, overviews, full-text literary criticism and reviews on nearly 130,000 writers in all disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world. Also may include multimedia content - podcasts, images, etc. 
 

Databases for Researching Communication, Social Media, and Psychology

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. 

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


Databases for searching a wide range of humanities & multidisciplinary topics 

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.

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.

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.


See an A-Z list of all databases

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, language, publication date, and more. To find ebooks and other materials available online, set the Availability filter to Online to limit your catalog search results. 

Example E-Books of Possible Interest