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ENGL 695 - Topics in Literature

This guide provides information about resources to aid students enrolled in ENGL 695 locate relevant research material. As this is a topics class, students should look for the subpage named for their topic in addition to the home page.

Welcome!

Books on shelves at Kansas State University Libraries. Link leads to larger view of same image.

Welcome to the Libraries' ENGL 695 Class Guide! This guide is designed to help you learn how to use K-State Libraries' resources to locate peer-reviewed and other materials related to your research. If this guide does not have the information you are looking for, Ask A Librarian for help any time during the Libraries' service hours.

Contact Sara K. Kearns for a research consultation via phone, email, Zoom (video conference), or in person!

Because ENGL 695 is a topics course, look for the tab matching your class name. 

Use the English Research Guide box below for links to and information about general English literature resources. 

Go directly to the K-State Libraries home page.

English Research Guide

Quickly start your research by clicking on the links below.

Tools and Key Resources

Find Books

  • Search It (locate books and materials in K-State Libraries' collection)
  • WorldCat (locate books and materials held in libraries around the world)

Find Academic Articles

Find Background Information

Find Cultural Context

Citations & Bibliographies

  • MLA Style (Modern Language Association style manual for writing and citations)
  • RefWorks (citation management software)

Researching Critically

Effective research requires that you critically evaluate your sources and how you search for information.

Evaluate your sources

Read or examine multiple sources. Explore a topic from different perspectives by locating more than one source on your topic. Seek variety in terms of:

  • concepts explored (fantasy, children's literature, religion)
  • disciplines (literature, philosophy, cultural studies)
  • author's gender, race/ethnicity, etc

Follow the references. Does your source cite references or otherwise indicate where they got their information? If not, why not? If yes, read some of those sources so that you can evaluate their information. 

Note: Sources may disagree with each other. This is okay; that disagreement helps us understand a topic. Be concerned when a source is discredited, particularly when the facts presented are disproved or the research process is questioned. 

Check your assumptions

Your search terms may bias your search results. Some terms assume an outcome; use of these terms may result in only locating articles that agree with that outcome. These terms include:

  • support
  • benefit
  • harm
  • improves
  • prevents 

If you must use a search term that indicates an outcome or relationship, try:

  • impact 
  • influence
  • affect 
  • effect

Change your search method to change your search results. Increase your search results by:

  • searching in several databases
  • following the citation trail — what works did the author cite; what works cite this article
  • searching for different formats: books, journal articles, dissertations 

Identify the scholarly conversation(s). The sources you locate are part of a conversation among researchers and scholars in an effort to better understand writing center practices and theories. Identifying a conversation helps determine what has already been written about a topic and if there are known gaps in our knowledge.  The conversation may entail:

  • best practices
  • research methods
  • theoretical approaches 

Look at how your topic is discussed by other researchers, what language they use to describe it, what experts they reference, what topics they consider related to your topic. Try new searches using these concepts.