ENGL 698 - Capstone Seminar

Library Research Guide


English Banner. Link leads to larger view of same image.

Welcome to the Libraries' ENGL 698 Class Guide! This guide is designed to familiarize you with resources at K-State Libraries and elsewhere in order to further your research. If this guide does not have the information you are looking for, don't hesitate to 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!

Go directly to the K-State Libraries home page

Reference Materials

Reference materials include biographies and encyclopedia-type sources that provide a factual overview of or introduction to an author, work, or genre.

Use simple searches in these resources such as:

  • author's name (e.g. Tananarive Due) 
  • work title (e.g. My soul to keep)
  • genre (e.g. gothic)

Critical Analyses

These resources discuss authors, works, and genres within literary, social, or philosophical frames. 

Due to the number of articles and other sources you may find, use complex or precise searches to identify relevant material

  • bio-power OR biopower
  • "magic realism" AND "African American"
  • Foucault AND fantasy

Use synonyms and related terms. It's difficult to predict what term a researcher prefers, and language changes over time:

  • novel OR literature OR fiction
  • horror OR fantastic OR terror

When you find a good source, mine it for other search terms. Look particularly at:

  • abstract
  • subject 
  • references

Keep a list of your search terms to try in multiple databases.

MLA International Bibliography: Search Tips

Below are two ways to search to increase the relevancy of your search results in MLA: use options on the Advanced Search screen and expand your search terms using the Thesaurus. 

Advanced Search

Advanced in this case means special search features for literary researchers, not that you have to be a literature expert. Advanced search features include searching by:

  • Genre
  • Primary Subject Author (that is - the author of a work, like Colette, is the subject of the article)
  • Location
  • Time Period

Below is a screen shot of the Advanced Search screen, including the search options that appear when you click on the Select a Field option in the search boxes.

Screenshot of MLA Advanced Search screen with options to refine search

Use the Thesaurus to identify terms commonly used by literary researchers.

The Thesaurus:

  • appears as an option on the Advanced Search screen
  • identifies alternative search terms, including broader, narrower, and related terms 

Not all keywords will appear in the Thesaurus; not all terms in the Thesaurus will have alternative terms.

A sample Thesaurus search:

  1. Link to the Thesaurus from the Advanced Search page.
  2. Enter your keyword in the search term box. The image below shows a search for the keyword middle.
    • All the subject terms that appear contain the word middle. 
    • Switch to subject terms that begin with middle by clicking the Begins with option under the search term box.
  3. Click on a subject term to open a new window.

Screenshot of MLA International Bibliography Advanced Search opening Thesaurus

Below is a screenshot of the Thesaurus screen that appears for the term African American middle class. Note that the Thesaurus offers two Broader Terms and one Narrower Term:

  1. Click the box to the left of any of the subject terms that you want to include in your search.
  2. Once you have selected all of the terms to include, click on the Add to search button at the bottom of the box, then Close.
  3. You will be returned to the Advanced Search screen with the new subject terms added.

Screenshot MLA International Bibliography Thesaurus box with related terms

Searching for Items on a Topic in K-State Libraries

 Use Search It's Advanced Search for more control over your search.

The link to the Advanced Search appears next to the Search Box once you have entered Search It. It is not available from the Libraries' home page. (Pro-tip - click on the magnifying glass icon in the Search It box on the home page to open Search It without entering any search terms.)

Screen shot showing link to Advanced Search next to the Search It search box.

1. Enter keywords in Search It's search box.

2. Click K-State Libraries only option to search for items owned by K-State Libraries.

Search It screen displaying keyword search in KState Libraries only

3. Item record shows if an item is available and where it is shelved. If not available, either because checked out or due to the Hale fire, you may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Screen shot of the information page for a book in Search It
4. Virtual Browse at the bottom of the record shows items shelved nearby the item you found. They have similar call numbers, so will usually be about a similar topic.

Screenshot demonstrating Virtual Browse feature in Search It

Searching for a Specific Title in Search It

Use Search It to search for specific titles in K-State Libraries. Enter the title in the Search It search box.

search form field in center of home page