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ENG 295 (Sorisio)

Research Tips

Tip 1:  Although I am a big fan of using online databases to find scholarly journal articles, for this particular class, I am suggesting that you consider start your research into your historical context with reference sources and books/book chapters.  These sources are better at giving you the background and overview of a historical topic, while scholarly articles in specialized history journals are often on extremely narrow topics. 

Tip 2:  Remember to mine the bibliographies of reference sources and any other good source you find to more sources.  This can save you a lot of time and is something that scholars do themselves!  Check and see if the library has a source by typing in the name of the article (add the author's last name if the title is short) into our Library Search tool.

Tip 3: Use our interlibrary loan systems!  Remember that Professor Sorisio wants good quality sources.  If we don't have have a recent book or a great article on a topic, we can still get it in 1-3 business days.

Tip 4:  Remember that the key to finding good sources is to be willing to try more than one database and try multiple searches.  Remember that changing even one word in a search will bring back very different results.  For instance 'Hawthorne women', 'women 19th', 'women nineteenth' and 'marriage 19th' might all bring back useful sources if you were researching how Hawthorne's portrayal of women in the Scarlet Letter reflected the roles and status of women in the 19th century.

Books

Books (or book chapters) are often the best way to get an overview of a historical topic.  Start by searching our catalog. 

Just because WCU doesn't have a book on your topic doesn't mean one hasn't been written!

Check Amazon or Google books for titles.  Then request them through EZ-borrow

Companions/Guides/Handbooks

A number of academic publishers (including Oxford, Cambridge, Routledge, and Blackwell) publish series of books under the titles Introduction/Companion/Guide/Handbook to_______.  In these companions, each chapter is dedicated to a sub-topic or time period.  I buy a lot of these for both Literature and History, because they often provide the prefect level of background information.

Requesting print books

If you need a book that we only own in print, you can request that we either hold it for pickup at the library or mail it to you.

Full books

The steps are:

1) Click on the title of the book to get to the information screen

2) Log into the system so it knows its you!

3) Click on the request button.

4) Use the pull down menu to either select where to pick it up or have it mailed.

This video will lead you through the process:

 

Chapters

If you need just one chapter from a book, we can scan it instead.

To make a request to get a chapter scanned:

  • Click the title of a book and scroll down to find the table of contents (note that this will not be available for all books)
  • Submit it as a chapter request via ILLiad.
    • In ILLiad, provide as much information as you can, but especially both the book title and chapter title.  The call number of the book or the permalink to the catalog record would also be very helpful.
    • In the note field, indicate that it is a book on our WCU print collection.

Books WCU Libraries don't own

Can't find good books in our catalog on your topic?  Try searching a larger collection (see below).  Any books that we don't own, we can get for you from another library, for free, in just 2-3 business days through our EZ-Borrow interlibrary loan system.

Using EZ-Borrow

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