Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

FR 397: Home

Background Research / Where to Start

Think Strategically About Your Research


Paul Gauguin, Montagnes Tahitiennes                                                               

              French 397/493G: Seminar:  Francophone     Ecocriticism Postcolonial 

  Theory in Dialogue     



                      Je serais heureuse de vous aider!

Karen Gillum

Think Strategically about Your Research

  • Looking up background information first can save you time later - use  Credo Reference or other encyclopedias or handbooks.  
  • Use terminology and facts learned from the background information to search for articles in MLA International Bibliography and other databases at left
  • Search for books in any of Colby's catalogs, expanding your search with subject linking
  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more
  • Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in.

*Biographical? Try Credo, Larousse or monographic biographies. 

*Contemporary public opinions?  Search, e.g.,  ARTFL​, NCCO, Gallica, historical books. 

*Literary analyses of an author? Search in MLA International Bibliography and library catalogues. 

When to Cite

Citations -
     show the research path someone took to develop an idea, and they provide leads for other researchers

You need to cite -
      when you directly quote someone else, when you refer to another person's ideas or when you outline someone else's argument or line of reasoning. You also need to give credit when you use an image, audio, or video clip (if permitted by copyright provisions).

Use the citation style recommended by your instructor. Brief description of one commonly used style, with links to further examples, appear below.  See also the Libraries' comprehensive guide, All About Citations.

Many databases offer ways to export citations to articles in the style of your choice. For larger research projects you may find it helpful to use bibliographic software that will organize and format your citations. Links to four commonly used brands appear at the foot of this page.


Use MLA style to create citations in the Humanities

EXAMPLE of MLA Style on a Works Cited page for a journal article retrieved from a database:

Goodheart, Eugene. "Orwell and the Bad Writing Controversy." CLIO: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History, vol. 28, no. 4, 1999, pp. 439-43. ProQuest Literature Online, Accessed 23 July 2017.

thus the formula is:

Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal,  volume #, issue #, year, page #s. Name of Database. [doi or url.] Date of access [day month year].

IN-TEXT: put source information in parentheses just after a quotation or paraphrase.

Is plain speech really an "antidote to dishonesty and brutality in politics" (Goodheart 439)?


MORE EXAMPLES and explanations (format for more complex in-text citations, for newspapaper articles, books, multiple authors, etc.) at Purdue's OWL site:


Citation Software

                     Mendeley Logo Vertical.png
More about RefWorks

    More about EndNote

ITS page with Downloads

About Zotero



Colby College on Twitter Colby College on Facebook Colby College on YouTube Colby College on Vimeo Colby College RSS Feed Search Previous Next