Skip to Main Content

ENGL 348: Illness and Narrative

Practice: Finding Secondary Sources

Selecting the best or most appropriate finding aid for identifying sources depends almost entirely on the context of your research project. There is no single database or web search interface that will work for every research context; instead, you'll need to match your specific research needs to a variety of options. 

Use the resources on this page to locate two scholarly secondary sources for your essay:

  • one article or book chapter about your primary text(s)
    • Based on your findings, how do other scholars frame your primary text(s)? What interpretive approaches and/or themes do they explore?
  • one article or book chapter related to an interpretive approach or theme
    • What database did you search? What search terms did you use and which subject terms correspond to your topic? Write down subject terms that interest you so you can try different combinations!

Featured Journals

Subject Databases

Like most other disciplines, English has several subject-specific databases. The MLA International Bibliography and Gale Literature Criticism are two examples. Subject databases index scholarly materials (books, chapters in books, scholarly articles, dissertations) that will be of interest to researchers within that discipline. MLAIB is the key database for literature, linguistics, and related areas.

Depending on your primary text and your angle, you may wish to search additional subject databases. 

E-Journal Collections

These e-journal collections provide access to many journals in the humanities, but they are more limited in coverage compared to subject databases. In most cases, it's better to search subject databases to identify articles, and then search the journal title in Primo to link to the materials in these e-journal collections.

Featured Books

Search Primo

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Collins Library uses Library of Congress Subject Headings to describe the content of books. 

You only need to be an observant user of Primo -- not an expert in the use of subject headings -- to make them work for you. Availing yourself of frequently used subject headings will help you locate secondary sources easily. Use subject headings to search for resources related to a specific author or work, in addition to literary themes or movements, genres, and/or critical approaches.

Here are several examples of the various ways you can use LCSH to help pinpoint what you need:

Austen, Jane, 1775-1817 -- Criticism and interpretation

Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Persuasion

Lorde, Audre -- Criticism and interpretation

Medical fiction -- History and criticism

Literature and medicine -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century

Medicine in literature

Literature and medicine

Diseases in literature

Cancer in literature

Medicine and the humanities

Social medicine

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option for getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.

Once you are logged in, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form:

Interlibrary Loan Link

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived.