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Laptop Day: Finding Scholarly Sources

Names 1. 2. 3.

Directions: You can work on your own, or you can work in a group of 2-3 other people. Write your name(s) at the top of this sheet, since you'll be handing it in at the end of class.

For today's laptop day exercise, you'll investigate and evaluate scholarly sources online. All the materials below are linked online at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/findmla.htm .

As you look at sources, remember:

1. Begin with the most recent sources and work your way back, since recent sources will incorporate previous ones.

2. Not all web sources are created equal. How credible is the author or hosting site? What evidence of omissions or bias can you see? For example, if a site claims that Twain was an ancient alien placed on earth to make the human race laugh, what evidence does the site provide, and how credible is the author?

Please search these resources in order.

General Resources

1.First, identify the topic you wish to search (i.e., Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Mark Twain, etc.) and write it in the space below:


2. Try your search in Google, as you'd normally do anyway. How many hits did you get?


--What were the top hits (Wikipedia, etc.)?


--How useful were they?


--Did any of them look "unusual" (i.e. Mark Twain is a space alien, Dickens inspired Hitler, etc.)? How could you tell that they were sketchy sites?


3. Now try Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) and Google Books Advanced Search http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search. What did you find?


Scholarly Resources

4. The MLA Bibliography is the gold standard for literary studies because it is the place where all scholarly articles are indexed. "MLA" stands for "Modern Language Association," the main professional organization for professors in English and foreign languages. You can access the MLA Bibliography by going to the WSU Library catalogue at https://libraries.wsu.edu and typing "MLA Bibliography" into the SearchIt! box.


What did you find when you put your search terms in there? How many references?


--How could you save those to a list and mail it to yourself for future reference?


--How could you get the correct citation format (MLA) to put into a bibliography for your paper?


--How can you get an article if it's not at WSU?


Library Resources. The WSU library has a number of resources for finding books and articles.

5. Try your search term in the library catalog. What resources do we have for your subject?

If you see a yellow dot instead of a green dot, click on that resource to see how you can access the material. What did you find? You may be able to borrow it from Summit, which is a consortium of libraries in the Northwest that lend books to each other.


6. The library has an English and American literature research guide available at: http://libguides.wsulibs.wsu.edu/englishandamericanlit. Try the resources from that link or at least two of the resources below. What did you find?

What looks most useful for your project?


Summary: What resources seemed the most promising for your topic, and why?


Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:56 AM