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EN200 Foundations of Literary Studies: Research

Spring 2023

Find Scholarly Articles in Databases

Examples of peer-reviewed journals in the MLA International Bibliography database.

Articles not available in full-text? Request through ILLiad interlibrary loan.

Look for Request from ILLiad or Request from another library links when a database advices you that full-text is not available.

Scholarly Journals

Databases can contain different types of material.

Assignments often require articles that are from peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

Look for options in databases to limit your results.

MLA Citation Help


OneSearch searches multiple resources at once. Use for very precise searches:

  • Finding a specific article
  • Finding book chapters on a topic
  • Finding book reviews

For best results, use limiters:  field drop-downs (Title, Publication Title), content type (articles, book chapters, book reviews), etc.

For topical searches, first consult CBBcat and individual databases.

  Girl reading a book, Freestocks, 2016. Flickr (CC0 1.0)

Reference & Contextual Information

side view of the marbled pages of a closed dictionary with indented finger holds for different letters Dictionary, Mike Licht, 2016, Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Search Tips


In library catalogs and many databases, keyword searches only look for EXACT matches. A search using one form of a word may not find derivatives. A search of a singular noun, may not find results that only use the plural form.

An ASTERISK is a wild card that stands in for different endings of a word. ideal* = ideal, ideals, idealism, idealistic

Use QUOTATION MARKS to glue together words in phrases, titles or an author's name. "stream of consciousness"

Use OR phrases (in parentheses or within a search row) to cover possible synonyms. (jester OR fool)

Use AND phrases to narrow and focus a search. mother* AND "toni morrison"


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): Eliot, George (Select Subject from first drop-down option in CBBcat.)

Following a Citation Trail

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

sample citations  Bibliography, Hafley, James Robert, The Glass Roof: Virgina Woolf as a Novelist, UC Press, 1954.


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.


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