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English Language: Research Help

Internet sites

MLA Style Guides

MLA style guides online:

The official MLA manual of style is kept in the reference collection on Library North 2, with an additional copy at the Research Support desk:

Essential Reference


The Little, Brown handbook- Ref PE112 .F6 2004

Practical English Usage/ Michael Swan- Ref PE1112 .S92 2005

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers- Ref LB2369 .G53 2003 Use this handbook for formatting your citations for a research paper.

Oxford English Dictionary- Look up a word to find its history and definition.

British English A to Zed/ Norman W. Schur- Ref. PE1704 .S38 2007 A dictionary of British English.

Research Tips

Brainstorm possible search terms for your topic. Keep in mind that you may need to simplify long phrases by breaking them up into separate search terms or smaller phrases.

Consult background information. Specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides are a great time saving tool. Many of these are located in the Reference Collection on Library North 2.

These sources provide topical overviews, summarize basic concepts, and are filled with names and events you can use as keywords in your searching. Many encyclopedia articles also include carefully selected bibliographies that will lead you to additional resources.

ANDs and ORs and NOTs. You will need to combine your search terms with connecting terms (called "Boolean operators"), such as AND and OR. Use AND between terms to narrow a search and OR between terms to broaden a search. See the online video below to learn more about how to use Boolean operators.

Be flexible as you settle on a final topic. Do a few preliminary searches in the library catalog or article databases before commiting to a topic. Make sure you can locate primary sources. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your focus.

Cite as you go. Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!

Humanities Librarian

Leslie Madden's picture
Leslie Madden
Library South
Suite 542