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Freshman English: Literature Topics

A guide for students in English 1101, 1102, and 1103

Find Articles

The University Library offers a variety of databases for literary research.  Try these to find articles on authors, novels, and literary themes:

Find Books

Use the Library's Catalog, found in the Shortcuts list on the Library homepage, to find books on your literary topic or author.  Using the example above, here's what a search for books on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein might look like: 

Researching a Literature Topic

Suppose you’re taking a literature class and you’ve been assigned a research paper on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  You could go straight to the library catalog or articles databases to try to find books and articles on the novel, but you’d spend many frustrating hours trying to figure out what to write about using the massive amounts of information you’d find.  Mind mapping, or clustering, at the beginning of the research process helps you to organize your thoughts before you ever sit down at a computer.   Beginning with Frankenstein as the central keyword, you’d begin to brainstorm topics related to the novel and cluster these terms and ideas around the central term.  Your mind map might look like this:

After completing your mind map, you should have a better idea of what interests you and what you’d like to research.    If you pick one of the sub-categories (Frankenstein and Popular Culture or Social Issues in the Novel, for example), you’ll have a much more focused topic and can more quickly and easily begin the process of finding appropriate resources. 

More Resources