Starting Literary and Historical Research
What is this page for?
GEW is not only to develop your writing skills, but more importantly, introduce you to scholarly discussion and argument. You demonstrate this by writing a paper on the text using sources that can both support and contest your thinking.
University level papers are NOT opinion pieces saying you liked or did not like the subject/book/author. According to your assignment prompt, you are examining the historical background, means of argument, and effectiveness. Others have done this as well and you are looking for the sources to support your viewpoint and analysis.
With prompt in hand, this is where you prepare to do research. The pages for this course guide are to help you locate the scholarly publications you need to include in your paper, with a page on using the proper MLA citation for the work you are incorporating into your essay.
Come to terms with...
Scholarly publications: You need to use the best of the best for university-level research consisting of publications (books or articles) that have been written by scholars who specialize in your topic. To determine whether scholarly or not, refer to this short guide.
Starting your research...
1. Before searching, strategize what you need! Finding relevant books and articles will give you support for your writing.
2. What are you being asked to do?
- What is the message you see in the text?
- Provide some background
- What was society like at the time Swift wrote this work?
- What was the popular reception of his work?
- Did the essay accomplish what was intended?
- Is there a specific aspect you can analyze?
- How does this argument compare to today?
From the prompt and your reading, write down a set of keywords to use in starting your searches for books, articles, and reviews. Those keywords can be used in place of the examples given in the other pages of this guide. As you work, continue to note new related terms that you see and write down questions that arise and comments that you have. You may not use everything you find in your final work, but these notes will save trying to recall what you found earlier and now do not remember where.
Also, keep in mind that computers search engines are literal. There is no correction for mispelling and the search algorithm will only match the characters you type in. If you are searching for information on British attitudes towards the Irish, you may also search for English attitudes.
Last Update: February 25, 2015 15:04