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English Literature and Language Resources: Getting Started

This guide is intended to provide guidance for students researching in the area of English language and literature.

WHY use reference sources in your research?

REFERENCE SOURCES (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, bibliographies, etc.) are a great place to start your research.  They provide general introductions to a wide variety of topics, can explain unfamiliar concepts, or help identify references for further research. There are a wide variety of general and subject specific reference sources that will provide information on a variety of topics within the discipline of English Language and Literature.

WHY use books in your research?

BOOKS tend to provide in-depth information on somewhat broad topics.  They are excellent sources for researching:

  • literary genres (e.g., poetry, drama and fiction)
  • literary themes (e.g., communism in literature, sex in literature and travel writing)
  • literary forms (e.g., history and criticism, biography and encyclopedias)
  • national literatures (e.g., Canadian, Irish and American)
  • timeperiods (e.g., 19th century and modern)
  • authors (e.g.,  Shakespeare, Seamus Heaney and Sharon Pollock)

WHY use articles in newspapers, magazines and journals in your research?

ARTICLES  in newspapers, magazines and journals tend to provide in-depth information on very specific topics and are a great place to research both contemporary and retrospective topics in English Language and Literature.  Remember that if your instructor has asked for scholarly, refereed or peer reviewed sources, you will not be able to use articles that come from a newspaper or magazine.

Jan Van Eyck

Library of Congress Classifications

P    Philology. Linguistics
PA  Greek and Latin
PB  Modern, Celtic languages
PC  Romanic languages
PD  Germanic, Scandinavian languages
PE   English language
PF   West Germanic languages
PG   Slavic, Baltic, Albanian language
PH   Uralic, Basque language
PJ   Oriental languages and literatures
PK   Indo - Iranian languages and literatures
PL   Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
PM  Hyperborean, Indian, and artificial languages
PN  Literature (General)
PQ  French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese literature
PR  English literature
PS  American literature
PT  German literature
PZ  Fiction and juvenile belles lettres