Electronic Resources For Literature Essays

Students who have been assigned a term paper in a high school or college literature course should begin by thinking about essay topics. Once they go from a general topic to a specific research problem, students can start researching the sources which will underpin their thesis argument.
Although most literature research is still done the old fashioned way � taking out library books � electronic resources have already become a vital part of humanities research. Understanding the different types of electronic resources, and how to access them, is now an essential part of writing a good literature term paper.
Internet Resources Used for Literature Essays
In the 1990s, students were often told not to use the Internet at all when writing essays. At the time, most information on websites could be found in print, and too many sites were crude and unreliable. But more and more sources are now exclusive to the web, making it harder for instructors to dismiss all internet research completely.
If you’re a literature student searching for sources on the web, you should be aware that there’s still a lot of junk online. Take extra care to evaluate any website you come across, being wary of bias or inaccuracy. The internet domain (those of major universities, corporations, or government institutions are usually trustworthy) and the author, if one is credited, are other indicators of professionalism.
For example, many literature professors and graduate students now have blogs or project websites where they upload scholarly work and discuss current research. Finding these can alert you to current trends, and help you write a topical paper that will impress your instructor.
Keep in mind you’re not likely to find primary sources for literature essays on the Internet unless they are in the public domain (such as at Project Gutenberg), or unless you plan on citing fan writings or popular commentaries. If you have any doubts, check with your teacher or professor whether a particular website or online source is trustworthy or relevant.
Other Digital Resources for Literature Essays
There are many electronic sources available to students which are not available to the public at large. Many academic journals, in addition to publishing print editions, have electronic versions which can be accessed from digital archives. Some of the more useful archives for literature students include Journal Storage (JSTOR) and Project MUSE, which are available by subscription to libraries and institutions.
If you’re a college literature student, your school’s library probably has access to these and other digital archives and databases. Often, all you need to do is to log in to your library account, on your university’s website, to access them. You can also talk to a librarian for extra help, and many university libraries conduct drop-in sessions on how to search for electronic resources through their library system.
Trust is the Key to Finding Literature Essay Sources Online
When beginning research for a literature essay, the internet and other digital catalogs are invaluable sources. But if you’re planning on using information or analysis you’ve found through a Google search, it’s important to verify that it comes from a trustworthy source � just like you would with any print resource.
To do this, it’s important to touch base with your instructors to make sure you’re finding good sources. Libraries, and library staff, can help with researching electronic sources as well. If you supplement these with traditional literary sources, you’re well on your way to writing a well-balanced term paper.

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