Doing Research in English

Finding Critical Sources for Graduate Study in English at Salem State University

Finding Sources

Modern Language Association Bibliography

 Not to be confused with the MLA Directory of Periodicals, this is the primary database for finding books and articles in the discipline of English. For suggestions about how to use this database effectively, see this link.

Salem State Library Catalog and NOBLEnet

 Use this to find books contained in our library and to request them. You may also find books held at other NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange) libraries, and you may request these as well. If the book you need is not held in the NOBLEnet system, you need to interlibrary loan it.


WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. If you are looking for a book, this will tell you where it is--anywhere. Enter your zip code and it will tell you which libraries have the works you need and how close they are.



JSTOR is short for Journal Storage, and this a database of scholarly articles in .pdf format. Unlike the MLA database, anything you find here you can download to your computer. However, much of it is old. While fast, it is often better to get contemporary scholarship and criticism in hard copy. A Salem State College email user name and password are required.


Literature Criticism Online

A collection of literary criticism originally compiled in print and then scanned. When using this, be sure to choose the appropriate series for the work you are researching. A Salem State College email user name and password are required. 

Yes, It takes most libraries a year or more to purchase new scholarship and criticism, so searching library catalogs can often prevent you from discovering the best new work available. Search for the topics, authors, and works that interest you, and then interlibrary loan them (or buy them, if you have the funds).


Other Useful Resources

Oxford English Dictionary

Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO)

 Course Resources



 Citation Tools

MLA Citation Generator

A simple online application for formatting works cited entries.


 A free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.  When collecting sources from the MLA database, Worldcat, or even, this software will help you organize your materials and even properly format your works cited page.


 The Annotated Bibliography


Advice from Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) on creating an annotated  bibliography.

 Advice from the Cornell University Library on creating annotated bibliographies.