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ENGL 103: Introduction to Drama

This guide has been designed as a starting point for your research for English 103.

If you need help, please contact Ivana Niseteo, Liaison Librarian for English, French, French Programs (FASS), Humanities, Linguistics, and World Literature at 778.782.6838 or or Ask a librarian.

The Library Website

Key Points

Research Guides - It's a good place to start with any subject you are researching. The History research guide will be particularly useful to you for the purposes of your essay.
Library Catalogue - Try the Advanced Keyword search particularly if you are looking for certain date parameters or for primary documents.
Journal Articles and Databases - The MLA International Bibliography is an excellent database. You can also explore other English databases and Theatre databases.
Citation & style guides - New and improved style guides as well as pointers on citing and writing.
Request items from other libraries - Use this if the SFU Library does not have an item you need. It takes 3-14 days for an item to arrive.
AskAway - Real-time chat reference with an academic librarian.

Search Strategies

Before searching the Library Search, the Library Catalogue or databases, think about your topic. Break down your topic into concepts or keywords. Think of synonyms for each keyword or concept, including new or alternative words that describe your topic. Create search strings that can either broaden (using OR) or narrow (using AND) your topic.

Here is an example of a search string using BOOLEAN operators (AND and OR) to get the best results. My topic is "The place of Theatre in Renaissance London"

Use the words in bold and think of any variations, synonyms or related terms. (e.g. theatre = stage, play, performance, theater)

Combining terms

The simple terms and and or allow you to combine terms to broaden or narrow your searches.

  • Broaden: combining with or requires ANY term to be found in each search result (use this for finding synonyms), e.g."theatre or stage"
  • Narrow: combining with and requires ALL terms to be found in each search result (use this for finding two or more concepts in the same source), e.g."theatre and London "
  • Remember your three steps: 1) Do a keyword search 2) Select a book from the list that appears to meet your needs 3) Use the subject headings for that books to find similar materials.
  • Subject headings are terms that have been assigned to each book. They are useful for locating books on the same subject regardless of the terminology used by the author. Using subject headings in your search can lead to more accurate results.

Research Tools: Library Search, Library Catalogue and Article Indexes

Library Search is SFU Library's tool for searching for books & articles at the same time.  It searches library catalogue records and selected collections of full text journal articles. After your initial search, you can use the left side of the screen to limit your results (e.g., to only include articles from scholarly publications).

Use the Library Catalogue to find books owned by SFU Library. Try using Advanced keyword searching. See the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide for searching tips. If you are still having trouble finding relevant results Ask a Librarian for help!

Article indexes will provide you with the ability to search for articles published in both print and electronic journals. This is important because some significant content may not be available in digital form. The Where can I get this? link in the journal indexes enables you to find digital copies of articles. This link will also provide you with information about SFU's print holdings for the journal where the article appears. Try the indexes suggested below, or, consult the full list of English databases or Theatre databases for other useful tools.

Academic Search Premier is a very good database to try. Use your keywords.

MLA International Bibliography is the best database for doing research on literary topic. All of the articles in this database are scholarly (or peer reviewed). If you do not get any results - try again with fewer words or a different word.

JSTOR is entirely full text but be aware that it does not access very recent materials. JSTOR has a 2-5 year embargo on its journals. Note that this database defaults to a basic search. There is also an advanced search option tab.  Consider using the near operator to return more relevant results. For example: Near10 will search for key terms that appear within 10 words of each other.

Tip:  Check for email and search history options in each database.