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Texts and Criticism: ENG 3096 (Dorothy Stringer section)

Research help for Dorothy Stringer's course, "Texts and Criticism."

Why Use Books?

stack of booksBooks written by scholars and published by university presses are a good source of information for many topics.

When and Why You Should Use Books:

  • You need good historical overviews of topic
  • You need broad coverage of one or more topics
  • You need a summary of existing research on a topic

Remember: Books may contain less recent information, often due to a lengthy publication process. Also, you may only need to read one chapter of a scholarly book!

Find Books at Temple

a book

Need to find a book? Use the following source to find books at Temple.

Quick Search Strategy for Finding Relevant Books in Library Search

One quick way to locate literary criticisms in books or book chapters is to combine the author's name with the word "criticism."  Oftentimes, these kinds of sources are tagged with the word "criticism" in Library Search. See example below.

search terms "Emily Dickinson AND criticism" inside search box

Search Tips for Literary Research

TipTip #1: Focus your search on three keyword concepts: Author, Text, and Topic. See examples below:

  • Author – use the author’s last name. Use any pseudonyms or spelling variations.
    • Examples: E.M. Forster, Edward Morgan Forster, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Text – use the partial or full title of the text you’re examining. (tip: put the title in quotation marks).
  • Topic – use a topic related to your central focus and argument. Examples:
    • Specific characters – Hester Prynne, Jay Gatsby, Ophelia, etc.
    • Theme – gender, nationalism, empire, diaspora, class, sexuality, identity, etc.
    • Technique – narration, characterization, metaphor, dialogue, etc.
    • Symbols – windows, roses, cages, lightness, darkness, etc.
    • Time period (literary or historical) – Victorian, Modernism, Medieval, etc.
    • Genre – drama, short story, poetry, epistle, detective, historical fiction, criticism, reviews, etc.
    • Theory/Theorist – postcolonial, psychoanalysis, Said, Freud, etc.
    • Setting/Country/Region – homes, parks, monastery, Italy, British Empire, etc.

Tip #2: Combine your keywords in meaningful ways. See examples below:

  • Author AND Text
  • Author AND topic
  • Text AND (Topic OR Topic)