How to do Literary
Research
What are we looking for?

Criticism
•
What other people think about Beowulf
as a work
•
Possible interpretations of Beowulf
•
The work of scholars...

Author Biography
•
How the author's life affected the book,
if at all

Did the author of Beowulf have political
connect...

Book Biography
•
How many times the book has been
translated, and by who

Did Beowulf change when it was translated
to ...

Historical context
•
Comments on history

A Tale of Two Cities – commentary about
the French Revolution
•
Context in hi...
Databases

Boston Public Library
•
Contemporary Literary Criticism
•
Artemis Literary Sources
•
JSTOR
•
Biography Resource Center
...
Strategies

Fields
•
A “field” is a place to put metadata –
information about the work

Author, subject, etc.
•
Name some fields!
•...
AND/OR/NOT
AND searches for two terms in combination with
one another
Cats AND Dogs returns only results that include both...
AND/OR/NOT in action
AND
ti:Beowulf AND au:Heaney
OR
ti: Beowulf AND (au:Heaney OR au:Bloom)
NOT
ti: Beowulf NOT su:dogs

Special Search Magic
•
Truncation

Find possessive and plural terms

Beowul*

Beowulf

Beowulf's
•
Wildcards

Track...
Full-Text Secrets

Not everything will be online
•
Get the citation

Inter-Library Loan

Field Trips

Salem State

Bo...
Read, Read, Read!

Working bibliography

Take notes as you read

Read each source multiple times
Questions!
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Conducting Literary Research

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Want to know how to conduct literary research? Here's where to start! This show covers databases, fields, and even the supercharged search secrets of truncation, wildcards, and Boolean operators.

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Conducting Literary Research

  1. 1. How to do Literary Research
  2. 2. What are we looking for?
  3. 3.  Criticism • What other people think about Beowulf as a work • Possible interpretations of Beowulf • The work of scholars and professional academics • Peer-reviewed and researched (just like yours!)
  4. 4.  Author Biography • How the author's life affected the book, if at all  Did the author of Beowulf have political connections? • Whether or not the book affected or influenced other authors  Did Beowulf influence Lord of the Rings?
  5. 5.  Book Biography • How many times the book has been translated, and by who  Did Beowulf change when it was translated to English? • Whether any of it has been lost, altered, or censored; and whether that's relevant
  6. 6.  Historical context • Comments on history  A Tale of Two Cities – commentary about the French Revolution • Context in history  Beowulf – set during a certain time (i.e., in context) − how would a real warrior have been expected to act at that time and in that part of the world?
  7. 7. Databases
  8. 8.  Boston Public Library • Contemporary Literary Criticism • Artemis Literary Sources • JSTOR • Biography Resource Center  Boxford Library • Academic OneFile
  9. 9. Strategies
  10. 10.  Fields • A “field” is a place to put metadata – information about the work  Author, subject, etc. • Name some fields! • Using Fields in Databases • Contemporary Literary Criticism  Artemis Literary Sources  JSTOR
  11. 11. AND/OR/NOT AND searches for two terms in combination with one another Cats AND Dogs returns only results that include both words OR searches for both terms Cats OR Dogs returns any result that includes either term NOT eliminates one term from the search Cats NOT Dogs removes all results that include the word “Dogs”
  12. 12. AND/OR/NOT in action AND ti:Beowulf AND au:Heaney OR ti: Beowulf AND (au:Heaney OR au:Bloom) NOT ti: Beowulf NOT su:dogs
  13. 13.  Special Search Magic • Truncation  Find possessive and plural terms  Beowul*  Beowulf  Beowulf's • Wildcards  Track down alternate spellings  B*owulf  Beowulf  Baowulf
  14. 14. Full-Text Secrets  Not everything will be online • Get the citation  Inter-Library Loan  Field Trips  Salem State  Boston Public Library  Getting full-text • Follow that record! • Download in pdf format, if possible
  15. 15. Read, Read, Read!  Working bibliography  Take notes as you read  Read each source multiple times
  16. 16. Questions!
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