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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Introduction to Literary Studies: Intro

Search advice for literature scholars

This LibGuide helps students and lecturers of the course Introduction to Literary Studies in searching for information which you may need to give presentations or write papers in the field of literary theory.

Other LibGuides

This is only one of our LibGuides containing tips, theory and training modules for searching and using scholarly information. Check the overview of all guides

Filpje over de LibGuides van de UU

Search strategies: what, where and how?

Your search strategy defines what you search, where you search and how you perform your search. In the course of your search process you take many decisions that affect the quality of search results and the time needed to get those results.

The main decisions in your search strategy relate to:

  1. What: Think through in advance what information you really need: subject, type of information (analysis, news, statistics, opinion, overview etc.), level and recency. The exact terms you are going to use in your search are of crucial importance.
  2. Where: What you are looking for determines where you should go to find it: unfortunately there is not one search engine or database that has it all.
  3. How: There are various methods of searching. The systematic/bibliographic method (using search terms in scholarly databases) and the snow ball method (finding new information related to what you already have) are the most important. The exact application of these methods depends on the options available in the database or search engine.

The special  LibGuide search strategy (as yet in Dutch only) has more on building succesful search strategies.

What kind of sources to use?

The most important sources for literary studies are:

  • Articles in academic journals
  • Scholarly books, including PhD theses
  • Book reviews in newspapers, news magazines and journals
  • (Online) text files with primary literature
  • Encyclopedias and handbooks
  • Foreign language dictionaries


The library: online and on site

University Library City CentreYou can start your research anywhere and anytime. Both the resources for searching literature and the literature itself are often available online. Yet the library as a physical space remains important.

  • Use our printed resources. Each collection is described on the website, including a link to a document disclosing its own 'classification scheme' 
    (Help in searching > by discipline > Humanities)
  • Do you need help? Just ask at the Service Desk, call or mail us: / 030-2536115. 
  • Use our study facilities (Wi-Fi, computers, laptops for rent, study spaces for groups).