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EN120 Writing as a Reader (Cook): Research Resources

Find Scholarly Articles

Check these databases:

Scholarly journals:

  • report original research in a specific discipline
  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • typically contain peer-reviewed articles
  • are particularly important to academic research.

Look for options in databases to narrow results to scholarly peer-reviewed articles.

The date slider is another useful database tool.

Find Books in Our Library Catalog

CBBcat, the library catalog, logo image

Search for physical and digital books, films and other media in our library catalog.

A book of literary criticism can be by a single author or can be an edited anthology with chapters ("book articles") on different aspects of the book's general theme.

To identify SCHOLARLY BOOKS, investigate/examine the:

  • author (university affiliation, research specialty)
  • publisher (academic or university press)
  • writing style & intended audience
  • arguments, analysis, study methodology
  • notes, references, bibliography

PRINT: Look at the location and call number. Most Colby owned books related to literature can be found on the two bottom floors of the Miller Library book stacks. Order books from Bates, Bowdoin and the Colby Annex by clicking CBB Request in an item record.

DIGITAL: look for a small circular red E in the icons to the left of your results . .

Or use the drop-downs on the CBBcat search page, for a more precise search.


ILLiad: Getting What Colby Doesn't Have


Not available in full-text? Request through ILLiad. Another library may be able to send a PDF in just a few hours.

In databases, look for Request from ILLiad or Request from another library links when you are directed to a screen that says full-text is not available at Colby.


Libraries also scan book chapters into PDFs. If the book you want is not in CBBcat or if it is only in print and you need to access it digitally, use ILLiad to request a book chapter or two. (Copyright law won't allow the scanning of an entire book.) If you don't have chapter information, search the title of the book in Google Books. You may be able to see the Table of Contents by clicking  "Preview."

Photo: Wuthering Heights, Sonia Marotta, 2008, Flickr(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Searching Tips


  • In library catalogs and many databases, keyword searches only look for EXACT MATCHES.
  • Experiment with SYNONYMS and related terms.
  • To narrow results, try using QUOTATION MARKS to glue together words in phrases, titles or an author's name. "social roles"
  • An ASTERISK is a wild card that stands in for different endings of a word. passion* = passion, passions, passionate
  • Use AND between terms to narrow results to items containing both terms ("Duchess of Malfi" AND revenge)
  • Use OR between items (within parenthesis) widens results to items containing any one term (death OR dying)


Subject searches take you to books that have been tagged as being about that person or subject. Identify SUBJECT HEADINGS by checking the item records found in a keyword search.

To find subject headings for an author, do a Subject Search using the author’s name (last name first): Webster, John (Select Subject from first drop-down option in CBBcat.)


Note that subjects which are authors or literary works can have a subject sub-division focused on literary criticism.

Not very many search results?  Look for broader subject headings in item records. Browse these areas in Miller Library's bookstacks. Books covering broader topics may include chapters or significant passages on the author you're interested in. Check a book's table of contents and index.


To find items by authors, do an Author Search (last name, first name).

Check References, Works Cited, Notes & Bibliographies

Check the works cited, notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover additional books or articles perfect for your topic.

sample citations

Hafley, James Robert, 1928 - The Glass Roof: Virigina Woolf as a Novelist. Berkely: University fo California Press, 1954. (link to bibliography)

One good source can lead to another!
Look for a Cited Work using:

Use "Cited by" in Google Scholar to Find More Sources

The CITED BY feature in GOOGLE SCHOLAR allows you to discover who else has cited a relevant article or book.

This can be particularly useful when you have a older article and want to find more up-to-date research.

Let's say you find the following article in a database search.

Pike, Judith E. “‘My Name Was Isabella Linton’ Couverture, Domestic Violence, and Mrs. Heathcliff’s Narrative in Wuthering Heights.” Nineteenth-Century Literature, vol. 64, no. 3, Dec. 2009, pp. 347–383

Put the title in Google Scholar and click on Cited by at the bottom of the record. That will take you to the records of the 35 works that cited this article.


  • OneSearch is a discovery tool.
  • It searches multiple resources at once.
  • Use for very precise searches:
  • Finding a specific article
  • Finding book reviews for a specific book
  • Narrow, interdisciplinary topics
  • For best results, use limiters -  e.g. field drop-downs, content type, etc.
  • For topical searches, first consult CBBcat and individual databases.

Reference & Historical Context

Book by Lalena Jaramillo, 2011, Flickr(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Profile Photo
Laine Thielstrom
she or they
For assistance via email, Zoom or in person. Miller 107C.

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. Many databases still use the 7th edition.  OWL uses the 8th edition. Note the differences! Be consistent.

MLA 7th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies 42.2 (2001): 19-43. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

MLA 8th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2001, pp. 19-43. EBSCO, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.

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