Western Libraries

ENGL 1027F The Storyteller's Art I

Research Process

BEFORE you search for books or journal articles, 

1. Conduct a close reading of the text.  Re-read the text.  When you have generated your own ideas, 

2.) identify key images, terms and concepts that relate to your research topic.

Use reference tools, found under "Background Information" below, for additional help in identifying key terms and concepts.

Background Information

Oxford Companion to English Literature

The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English*

Dictionary of Literary Biography*

*Also available in print format in Weldon Library's reference section: PR85.C29 2006

Encyclopedias and other reference tools give you some idea as to what words to use in your search, or help you form a research topic.

Books and Journals

The following outlines some of the key differences between books and journal articles:


•written by one or more author(s)
•present a broader perspective on one text/author/topic
•are usually published once (unless you count books that have been published in multiple editions)|
•find books in OMNI or in the Library Catalogue
Eg. Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath
Critical Essays on Sylvia Plath

•contain many articles by various authors
•offer shorter, concise analyses of a given topic
•issues are published monthly, bimontly, yearly, etc., thus they offer a current perspective on a given topic. Call numbers for a print journal will be the same for each bound volume - only the volume numbering and/or year changes - so date/volume/issue information is crucial to find a specific article.
•search for journal articles in OMNI or in specific databases (e.g. MLA International Bibliography, LION, etc.)

Eg. Studies in American Fiction 
Review of Contemporary Fiction

Finding Books

Books often provide a general overview about a given topic.  Find electronic and print books using the library catalogue (www.lib.uwo.ca/search). 


To find copes of "The Bell Jar," select "title."  To find books about "The Bell Jar," select "keyword."

Click on a title in order to find information about the book's contents and location. 


Find the library where this book is located under "Location.'  "DBW stack" means that this title is at Weldon library.  According to the status (under "Currently") the book is not checked out.  The "Call Number" helps you locate the book on the shelf. 

Finding Articles

You can find academic journal articles using specialized databases.  Like a general search engine (think Google) databases help you locate information.  However, library databases are intended to help you find scholarly articles written by academics.  (Uncertain about scholarly sources?  Visit this tutorial or the Weldon Research Guide about Scholarly Journals).

To find articles, consult one of the following databases:

MLA International Bibliography


Literature Online

Find more databases in the English Program Guide.

Tip:  When searching a database, use the Advanced Search option for more concise results.

Finding Literary Criticism

Find out what other scholars have said about the work you are studying.

Literature Criticism Online

Style Guides and Citing

Avoid plagarism! Citation and style guides help you properly credit secondary sources.  Visit the Western Libraries Style Guides page for more information about specific citation styles (eg. MLA).

Citing Sources According to MLA (7th ed.)

A library guide (PDF) to MLA

Interlibrary Loans (RACER)

RACER is an online Interlibrary Loan system used to search for material and place requests. To access RACER you must have an account. To create your account, you need to register. If you have already registered, simply login. Please keep in mind that your University ID number is used as your login and your password is created by you.