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Literature & Criticism: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • What length is your final paper supposed to be?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching

  • What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
  • What are the keywords in your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "Toni Morrison uses food to symbolize the emotional needs of her characters in her novel The Bluest Eye."
    Example Keywords: Toni Morrison, symbolism, characters, food, The Bluest Eye
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "symbolize":  metaphor, representation, meaning

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