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English and Literature

Resources in the field of English and Literature

ENG141 Search Strategies

This page will provide you with some tips and tricks to make your research a breeze! If you still can't find what you need, please don't hesitate to contact the library! You can find our contact information and more on the Get Help page.


To get you started, here are some general search strategies:

Keyword Strategies

Pro tips for keyword searching:

  • The fewer words you use, the larger your search will be.
  • Try different words or combinations of words in the search box. A thesaurus can come in handy. 
  • Using quotation marks, you can string clusters of words together (Example: "Gun Control"). This will return results where the words gun and control are found together in articles.
  • Use the left-side limiters to adjust your search results. There you can:
    • Limit results to full text only, meaning you can read the full resource digitally without requesting the item.
    • Limit results to scholarly/peer reviewed.
    • Adjust the year of your publications.
    • Limit results by language (a handy feature if you are pulling up many non-English materials).
  • Try individual databases from our A to Z list rather than searching DragonQuest if you feel overwhelmed with the search results. Broad databases that cover a variety of disciplines like Academic Search Complete will still give you plenty of material!
  • Check out our list of Recommended Databases on this guide for two resources that might give you an advantage when researching controversial issues.

Research Starters

What is a Research Starter?

Research Starters are encyclopedia entries, so they are more of an "idea gathering" mechanism than a scholarly source to support your stance on an issue. They provide background information on a broad topic and highlight keywords you can use and/or links to the source material to get you started on your research. 

You'll recognize a Research Starter because it is always the first resource in your list of search results in DragonQuest. They often pop up when your search terms are very broad. Here are a few Research Starters as examples:


Narrowing DragonQuest Search Results

If you'd like to know how to narrow down your DragonQuest list to only full text, peer reviewed, or specific types of resources, we recommend the following tutorial:

Citation Resources and Tutorials