Key electronic resources
The key electronic resources for English provide access to secondary critical literature, such as journal articles, books, book chapters and dissertations, as well as to electronic primary texts and contemporary sources. Particularly recommended are ProQuest One Literature and the MLA International Bibliography (secondary sources).
Online help and support
Training materials and guides
Look at the videos on the right for help searching the literature and finding the full text.
If you would like some help finding literature for English, or managing your citations and reference lists, please contact kate dot courage at warwick dot ac dot uk, the Academic Support Librarian for English. To get some help starting out on a literature search, see our video tutorials (right) on developing a search strategy and getting to the full text.
Guides to specific databases
- Guide to searching MLA International Bibliography
- Guide to searching Literature Online (LION)
- Guide to searching Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Guidance on finding and managing information, designed especially for students doing the final year dissertation.
- British Council
- English Association
- Internet Archive An archive of digital items, including texts, audio and moving images to give permanent access for researchers, scholars, and the general public
- Royal Society of Literature
- Warwick University English Department
- Writers at Warwick Archive
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Your Academic Support Librarian
kate dot courage at warwick dot ac dot uk
+44 24 765 28151
Any feedback, concerns or questions about the Library? Contact your Library Associates.
Create effective search strategies - accessible transcript
This short video will help you to plan effective literature searches for a given topic or title which you can then use to search academic databases. First let's look at how to effectively plan your searches it is important to make a plan before you begin searching so you can find precisely what you need and save yourself time.
First identify any key concepts or keywords in your topic or question, for example for the title analyse the use of colour in any one or more films, the keywords would be colour and films. If you want to focus on a particular country or time period you might also want to add extra keywords to limit your search.
Next identify any possible alternative terms for the main keywords to help broaden your search and prevent you from missing literature on your topic that uses slightly different language. In this example you would need to include film cinema moving images or movie as alternatives to films. While for the term colour you might want to consider both British and American spellings as well as any relevant translations.
Finally if appropriate you can use phrase searching putting quotation marks around two or more words to search them as a phrase. Free searching is particularly useful for titles of books or films and can help narrow and reduce the number results you get in databases.
Now you have identified your search terms you need to create a search strategy. For this there are four key things you might want to consider. First you need to combine your search terms using ‘and' and ‘or' to pick up on all alternatives to your key words or concepts. You will need to combine your search terms with all this will pick up on any of your terms to find material that just covers both or all of your search areas you'll want to include and in your search terms these operators can be combined to create advanced searches that will search for multiple themes and concepts.
Second you can use symbols to make your searches more efficient you can put an asterisk after the stem of a word to find any variant endings this is called truncation. You can also use a wild-card, usually a question mark which replaces one or no characters and picks up variant spellings.
Thirdly you can narrow your search area so you don't get overwhelmed with results. Most academic databases allow you to specify where you want to search for your keywords whether it is in the title the abstract or the full-text it is often a good idea to search the abstract or subject headings as titles are often brief or misleading. When searching the whole text it will pick up resources that don't really focus on your area of interest.
Finally applying limits to your search will help to narrow down to the results. If you really want you can limit it by publication date which is particularly useful if you want to find primary sources from a specific period or search for the most recent literature on a topic. Publication type can be useful if you just want to find academic sources from books or scholarly journals or by language which is useful if you want to find criticism in a specific language.
When you've done your search have a look at the results you are finding ,they will nearly always suggest some terms you haven't used in your initial searching so you can log those and add them for future searches.
Thank you for watching this video if you have any questions or want some help with your research essays or dissertations please get in touch with your Academic Support Librarian.
Getting to the full text
Getting the full text - recording transcript
Many databases will help you find useful research but won't contain the full text of the material in the database itself.
In this case look for the WebBridge button. Clicking on this will allow you to see straight away if we have the full text of a journal article online through the Library. In this case we have access through two different journal platforms and clicking on either link will take us to the full text and a PDF link.
In some cases WebBridge won't find full-text available through the Library online, in these cases have a look to see if it's available in the Library by clicking to check availability using Library search.
If that does not find you the full text you can request a copy through Article Reach. This is a scheme where libraries worldwide share the journal content and clicking on this link allows you to request the article for free. If the article is available it was sent to you by email usually within a couple of days, if Article Reach can't find the journal article or if it's a book you need you can place a document supply request.
More information about this is available on the Library website. If you go to the Library A to Z and look for documents supply, the Library will then request the book chapter or article you need for another UK Library.
How to access full text using WebBridge.