Literature Resource Center
Focused on a certain work or author but not sure what to write about? Try the Literature Resource Center's Topic Finder tool. Just type in the name of a work or an author and you'll see some main ideas and themes that have been written about.
Here's a sample showing the search results for the author J.R.R. Tolkien.
Online Encyclopedias and Guides
Print Encyclopedias and Guides
The library also has many useful print encyclopedias and guides in the P - PT reference section on the first floor (call number starts with "Ref") or in the general collection on the 3rd floor. Many of the encyclopedias are dedicated to a literary movement, genre, ethnicity, or specific author. Below are some examples of major titles.
If you're having trouble finding any of these, please feel free to ask at the Research Help desk!
We all use Wikipedia, but if you want something authoritative and reliable, Britannica® Academic is a great option. Like all encyclopedias, this source is a good way to find background information on a topic.
Note: Results will open in a small new window.
CQ Researcher is a great source for information about current events and controversies. However, it also has some useful historical information, usually about political events (ex. U.S.-Iran relations). We recommend this source when you're having difficulty coming up with a topic. It's also a good tool if you already have an idea, but aren't sure what direction to take.
This source is very similar to Opposing Viewpoints in Context - it's a good place to look for information on controversial issues.
Plan Your Research
Not sure how long it will take you to complete an assignment? Want to make sure that you're not stuck at the last minute?
The Assignment Calculator can help you plan your work. Don't forget to email yourself the schedule, or print it - both options are at the bottom of the page.