Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research on African American detective fiction and other topics related to literature and history.
  1. Begin by using the keyword brainstorming worksheet docx to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  2. Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBIS, OhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  They provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT, review and SUMMARIZE earlier work, help you FOCUS your topic and provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  3. Next, search research databases to find articles. The Library has hundreds of databases available, but the ones listed below are good places to begin.
  4. You may also wish to use Google or Google Scholar to search the Internet.  Take advantage of Google's advanced search features!
  5. Finally, use the CRAAP test worksheet pdf to evaluate the sources you find!
Search *almost* everything
Book Search
Search OBIS
Research databases
These databases are most useful for finding reference-type information: author bios, bibliographies, critical analyses, etc.

Literary Reference Center Plus Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Information on thousands of authors and works, including: plot summaries, synopses and work overviews; literary criticism; author biographies, interviews and images; and book reviews.

Literature Resource Center Restricted Resource
Full-text database that includes author biographies and work overviews, literary criticism, and indexed books, essays, and articles on world literature. Includes links to Contemporary Authors Online, Contemporary Literature Criticism, and Dictionary of Literary Biography.

These databases are useful for finding scholaly and popular articles.

Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Multidisciplinary - good for nearly all subjects. Scholarly and trade journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, book reviews, and more.

Black Studies Center Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video
Covers the Black experience from ancient Africa to the modern day from perspectives in history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion. Also includes the full text backfile (1935 to 1975) of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender.

Ethnic NewsWatch Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full-text coverage of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America. Dates of Coverage:  1959 to date

Humanities International Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available
Index to journals, books and reference sources in all humanities disciplines, as well as selected original creative works including poems, fiction, photographs, and illustrations, with some content available full-text.

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available
Scholarly journal archive for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences;  most journals 2-5 years out-of-date

MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource
Index to books, essays, and journal articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore and linguistics. Topics include literary theory, criticism, folk literature and belief systems, linguistics, semantics, translation, dramatic arts, and history of printing and publishing. Covers literature worldwide and includes materials in all genres and in foreign languages. Dates of Coverage: 1926 to date

Research help
Beyond Oberlin (the web!)
Provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable. 
Search for book reviews published in the New York Times since 1981, read articles about selected featured authors, and access best seller lists.

Mystery Readers Journal     
Quarterly thematic mystery journal. Each issue contains articles, reviews, and author essays on a specific theme, and well as special columns and other mystery-related material.  There is a fee to subscribe, but select articles from each issue are free to read online.
Writing & citation help

  • MLA handbook for writers of research papers. 7th ed. 
    Location: Main Reference            LB2369 .G53 2009
    (also Art Reference, Con Reference, and Sci Ref Desk)
  • MLA Style – Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)

ProQuest RefWorks is a citation management tool that helps researchers gather, manage, store and share information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of styles.
  • Search - OBIS, OhioLink, PubMed & Scopus
  • Share - Folders via URL
  • Store - PDFs online and take notes
  • Read - Search your references fulltext and save searches
  • Write - Create a simple reference list and use Write-N-Cite to format paper in Microsoft Word
  • Check out our video tutorial!
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