Skip to Main Content

ENGL 432: Middlemarch: Great 19thC Novel

Finding Secondary Sources

For your research assignment in this class, you'll need to identify, read, analyze, and respond to several scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles or book chapters that demonstrate a critical approach to your primary text or topic.

Not sure where to start? Here are three broad strategies that you can try:

  • Browse or search key journals for scholarship related to Victorian Studies
  • Search a subject database, such as the MLA International Bibliography or Historical Abstracts
  • Search Primo for print and ebooks related to your text and topic

Featured Journals

*Recommended Subject Databases*

There are several databases from which to choose when you are seeking scholarly work. For this course, most of you will want to start your search with MLAIB (literature and linguistics) and/or Historical Abstracts (world history).  Always make sure that you've selected the most appropriate database to search!

Depending on 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.

What about books?

Search Primo

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Searching for Books

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. You will have plenty of time to request materials via Summit or ILL for your project, so start early!

  • When you find an item that seems relevant, look at its subject terms to find similar items. To do this, check the "Item Details" and simply click on one of the subject headings listed in the record for the book; the next screen will list all the books that share this subject term.
  • To find the library location of a book's call number, check the library map.

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Collins Library uses Library of Congress Subject Headings to describe the content of books. If you are researching an author about whom much has been written, you can use Library of Congress Subject subheadings to help pinpoint your search.

Here are several examples, centered on George Eliot and her works, of the various ways you can use LCSH to help pinpoint what you need:

Eliot, George, 1819-1880

Eliot, George, 1819-1880 -- Criticism and interpretation

Eliot, George, 1819-1880. Middlemarch

Eliot, George, 1819-1880 -- Political and social views

Eliot, George, 1819-1880 -- Influence


English literature -- 19th century

English literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism

Great Britain -- History -- Victoria, 1837-1901

Great Britain -- Intellectual life -- 19th century

England -- Social life and customs -- 19th century

Book Reviews

By consulting book reviews of the scholarly works you are reading, you can gain a better understanding of the place of a particular work within the field. Here are a few tips for locating book reviews:

  • Check to see when your book was published. If it was published more than twenty years ago, and you aren't finding reviews online, you may need to look beyond online sources and check print indexes.
  • If you're having trouble finding a review, check with a librarian for help and to cover all your bases, but remember that some books are never reviewed. If that's the case, think about what that might mean about the book's scholarly importance.
  • In many databases, you can specifically limit your search results to just reviews.

Start with the resources below and branch out as needed. Search by the title of the book, or by the author of the review and a keyword from the title. 

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.