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. 

 

Circle broken down into many topics and subtopics. The selected topic displays in the middle of the circle and relevant results are listed on the right.

The resources below are good for finding background info on your topic and figuring out where to start.

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!


Research Starters

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. 

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. 

 
Opposing Viewpoints is a great source for information about current events, especially controversial ones. They provide a wide variety of sources on each topic - everything from opinion essays to scholarly articles. 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.
Search POV Reference Center

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. Create an account to receive email alerts to keep you on schedule!