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LIT 494: Capstone Course - (Post)Colonial British Literature

Resources for research in 19th and 20th century British fiction and colonialism / postcolonialism.

Research Tips

  • You never know what you'll find, so be open to the possibilities.
  • Research is like cooking - you often have a make a huge mess to get something good at the end.
  • Don't be afraid to find all the "wrong" ways first.
  • You're trying to find a way in to the conversation, so if you can find one place to start from, you can go from there.
  • Databases are like cars: if you can drive one car, you can pretty much drive any car. Most all databases share the same basic functions.
  • Keep a research log so you don't redo things you've already tried.
  • Think about other words to describe what you're looking for - if something is "red," try "magenta" or "brick."
  • Use Subjects in databases to find similar articles.
  • Focus on the time period or aspect you need; don't get distracted by everything else.
  • To figure out how to search for authors (if firstname lastname or lastname firstname matters), search for somebody you know you'll find and see what works.
  • ILL can be a life-saver, but it isn't instant, so build in extra time in your research schedule.
  • Your Librarians are here for you.

Author Information

Identify authors and find biographical information.

Country Information

Basic country histories and facts -  focus on the time period you need.

Novel Information

History and Literature Databases

Databases from Renne Library to help you find popular and scholarly history and literature articles.

Here's an example of the fancy searching:

ford* and (theatre or stage) not "john wilkes booth"

The qoutations make the database search john wilkes booth as a phrase and not just the individual words.

Another example could be:

coloni?ation and (ghana or "gold coast")

This will search for colonization or colonisation and ghana or "gold coast" as a phrase.

Remember to check the Help section in each database to find out how that database uses the fancy stuff. What works in one may not work in another. You'll be looking for words like Truncation, Wildcards, Parentheses, and logical or Boolean operators.

The Times of London

Published in the United Kingdom since 1785. One source to find contemporaneous information on your topics. MSU owns a near-complete run of the newspaper in microfilm and the index in paper.


Need new ideas? Serendipity and stress relief here!