GBK 101: Among Gods and Heroes - Amy Wiles

by gratz_ae — last modified 2015-08-15T13:54:58-04:00

This guide is designed to help you complete your research assignment in this class. If you need more assistance, please don't hesitate to contact Amy Gratz, the librarian for your class (contact information on right).

Helpful information:

MLA format and citations - Purdue OWL: refer to this website to find the appropriate format for MLA citations. You can also Ask Jack for help.

Annotated Bibliographies - Purdue OWL guide: this brief guide explains what annotated bibliographies are and how to format them.

Annotated Bibliographies - Tarver Library guide: this slightly longer guide provides some more details about what to look for when critically reading and summarizing a source, and includes some example annotations at the end.

Scholarly and Popular Sources

(For more information, see this guide)

Most sources of information fall into one of these two categories. Here's how they're different:

"Scholarly" (aka "academic" or "peer-reviewed") periodicals are usually published by an association, institution, or scholarly press. They contain articles written by scholars, professors, and researchers in a particular discipline, and are intended for other scholars and researchers in the field. Articles published in these journals are sent to other experts in the field to be reviewed prior to publication.

“Popular” periodicals are publications that are intended for the general public, and whose main purpose is usually entertainment. Articles in these publications are generally written by paid journalists or columnists, and reviewed by an editor.

Reasons to use Scholarly Sources:
  • They are generally the most highly valued source of information in academic circles
  • They are written by and reviewed by experts in the field
  • The information they contain critically examines some aspect of the world

Reasons to use Popular Sources:

  • They are easier to understand because they are written for the general public
  • They are more likely to contain information on recent events
  • They can give you an insight into what type of information is available to the general populace on a subject

Evaluating Sources 

 In addition to knowing what type of source you have, there are several other criteria for deciding whether or not to use a source in your paper. Start with the C.R.A.P. test to do a basic evaluation:

Currency: is the information recent enough for your topic?

  • For this assignment, probably within the last 25 years

Relevancy: does the information relate to your topic, either directly or indirectly?

  • Directly relevant sources are better, but you may need to use less relevant sources and make the connections to your topic for your reader

Authority: who wrote the information, and are they an authoritative source?

  • For this assignment, you want to use works written by scholars who are experts in an appropriate field

Purpose: what was the intent of the author when writing this information?

  • Most scholarly sources are informative, but the author may also be trying to persuade you to agree with them. You should also consider whether or not they agree with the majority of scholars on the given topic

Once you have done a general overview of the source, you will need to do a more in-depth evaluation of the source information. At this point, you will need to do a close, critical reading of the source, somewhat similar to what you do with Great Books and annotating your reading. Most importantly, you need to apply your own critical thinking skills: does the author's argument make sense? Can you think of any counter-arguments or points they failed to consider? Do they seem to be manipulating the data in any way?

In-Class Activity

Skim the article you are assigned and discuss with your partners. Answer the questions on your worksheet as if your topic is the meaning and significance of the "Carpet Scene" in the Agamemnon.

Article 1       Article 2        Article 3        Article 4        Article 5        Article 6

Brainstorming Keywords

Brainstorming image. Original from

(Image from Flickr)

A key first step in researching is brainstorming search terms, or keywords. This will help you think of different aspects of your topic and flesh out possible directions to take when researching or writing, and gives you a pool of potential terms to go back to if your first few tries don't yield relevant results.

For this assignment, you might want to start with thinking about your class discussions or your daily questions/writing assignments - is there a particular question you would like to explore more deeply? What themes, characters, scenes, or topics in the Orestia do you find interesting?

Search Strategies

Once you have some search terms to start with, there are several ways you can combine them to be more effective. For the main database I recommend for this assignment, it is essential that you know how to do research, because JSTOR expects you to know what you're doing.

Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT

Use Boolean Operators to combine your keywords into a more effective search, as indicated below. It is important to remember to put these operators in all caps, so the database knows that it is a command.

AND searches for multiple words and requires that all the words appear. This narrows your list of results.

OR searches for multiple words, and requires only one of the words appear. This broadens your list of results. 

NOT blocks certain words from your search. This narrows your list of results.

Phrase Searching

When you're looking for a specific phrase or set of words, it is extremely helpful to put those words in quotation marks. This tells the database that you only want results where those words appear exactly as typed, in that order. This narrows your list of results.

 Nested Searches

Nested searching is a strategy where you group similar search terms together into a more complex search. This builds on the strategies above, and is essentially letting you conduct multiple searches at the same time.

Nested Seach

Finding Sources

JSTOR - This database is the best place to look for scholarly articles on this topic. While searching, be sure to limit by language and publication date; JSTOR has a LOT of journals, and this will reduce the number of results drastically. Also, JSTOR searches the full text of articles, so be prepared to see a number irrelevant articles, and try to be specific in your search.

Research Library (ProQuest) - This database has more recent articles than what you're likely to find in JSTOR. Like in JSTOR, you should construct your search carefully, and be sure to limit your source type to scholarly journals, and your language to English.

Academic Search Complete (EBSCO) - You can also find some scholarly articles here, but not as many as in JSTOR. This database also includes the most recent articles from journals like Classical Philology, unavailable in JSTOR. Again, you will need to be careful to limit your search to scholarly articles.

Help with Greek Quotations:

You can easily jump to specific line numbers in any of the plays through the following links, and compare the English and Greek side-by-side to verify that you've found the correct passage. Phrase and word order often varies from one language to the next, so you may also want to find the appropriate line number in the translation you've read in class to compare the English translations.

Note that you can also click on specific Greek words to get their meaning in English, which may be helpful; click the word you need, then click the link for "show lexicon entry" - the Autenreith lexicon is probably the most comprehensible to those unfamiliar with Greek, when available. 


Choephoroe/Libation Bearers

Eumenides/The Furies