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What will I search for?
- What are the main ideas you are writing about?
- Are there related concepts?
- What people / places / movements / schools of thought are connected to your topic?
- What are other ways of talking about your topic (e.g., if you are interested in language, you might also try searches for tone, dialogue, vernacular, diction, sonnet, essay, vilanelle, etc.)
Tip: Generate Ideas in Search Tools
UC Library Search This link opens in a new window
Locate books, articles, and more from all UC campuses and beyond in this unified discovery and borrowing system. Use filters and alternative search scopes to narrow your results. Connect via the VPN to view all content available to you. Log in to your account to request material.
Search for a work, author etc. and look at associated Subject Headings.
If interested in an author, find that author's work or look at the author's identity page for themes.
Reference & Literature Databases
These databases can be useful for locating background information, primary sources (texts), and also secondary materials (literary criticism).
Provides access to a collection of reference books including specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries.
LION (Literature Online) (ProQuest) This link opens in a new window
A comprehensive literature database of over 350,000 works of poetry, drama and prose dating as far back as 600. Includes links to other Web resources, bibliographies for over 400 authors and biographies for over 1,000 authors.
Literature Resource Center (Gale) This link opens in a new window
A comprehensive resource for research on literary topics, authors, and their works. Gateway to Literature Resource Center, Twayne's Authors Online Series and Scribner Writers Online Series.
Oxford Reference Online This link opens in a new window
Search over 250 dictionaries and reference titles covering the complete subject spectrum: from General Reference and Language to Science and Medicine, and from Humanities and Social Sciences to Business and Professional.
Oxford English Dictionary This link opens in a new window
The accepted authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium. A guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. The OED traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources.