This guide is provided for students taking courses in African American Literature who are asked to produce a research paper.
As such a student, you will typically be expected to find a variety of sources to support your topic (articles published in magazines and journals, books about authors and their works, reliable websites, etc.). This guide points to resources which should help you on your way.
A good way to begin research is by getting some background information on your topic. Background information can be found both through web sites and reference books. Because there is such a wide variety of free web sites, if you use these sources to gain background information you will need to assess these sources for accuracy, authority and reliability. Meanwhile, most reference books have already been reviewed by experts and are therefore a bit more trustworthy.
Using either the box above or http://portal.emich.edu/, you can search EMU's Library catalog online for other useful resources including books, DVDs, CDs, and electronic books.
Notice that in the box above there is a drop down menu with the following options: Keyword Anywhere, Title, Author, and Subject. Using these options well should help improve your search results.
For example, to find books written by an author, choose Author from the drop down menu and then type in the name of the person, surname first (ex. "Wheatley, Phillis").
But, to find information about an author, choose the Subject from the drop down menu and then type in the name of the person, surname first.
Certain terms are recognized as official subject headings by our catalog. Subject searches using these official subject headings (i.e., using the correct terminology) can provide more focused results.
Here are some general subject heading terms that might be useful:
You can also combine subjects on our Advanced Search page. The following produces a fairly comprehensive list of items the library owns on African American Literature:
Remember, if you're not sure what the official subject headings for a topic might be, you can always do a Keyword Anywhere search. Or you could use the Advanced Search page and use both keywords and official subject heading terms (if you know some).