INT 101 Morrill-Ragusea
Selecting a Topic
Banned & Challenged Books - the American Library Association (ALA) is the authority on banned books in the United States, tracking and collecting data on this issue for decades. There are several lists on this page that will help you identify a potential book to focus on for your paper.
Once you know what book you're going to use, brainstorm related topics that might be helpful for you in finding sources. Most of what you need are book reviews, but you will also need scholarly articles. Depending on several factors, you may need to look for scholarly articles that discuss similar books or general issues related to your specific book; consider some of the following to find helpful sources:
- What are the most controversial aspects of the book? (e.g. language, sexual content, general themes, anti-religious content, etc.)
- What other books has the author written? Are any of these banned?
- What age is the intended audience for the book?
- Where has it been banned? (Look for frequent complaints in specific states or types of institutions, such as school or public libraries)
The resources listed below are only a starting place - you may also want to look at the subject guides to find other databases to search in. Please ask a librarian if you have any questions!
Discovery - an EBSCO service allowing you to search multiple databases and the library catalog simultaneously. It is a useful resource when you're not sure where to start, or if you're searching in multiple disciplines, but you may want to use some of the following databases, as well.
Recommended Social Science databases included in Discovery searches:
- Literary Reference Center (EBSCO) — Includes more than 10,000 plot summaries, synopses and work overviews; articles of literary criticism; author biographies; full text of over 300 literary journals; book reviews; 25,000 classic and contemporary poems; 11,000 classic and contemporary short stories; full text of over 7,500 classic novels; author interviews; and over 1,000 images of key literary figures.
- Literature Resource Center (Gale) — Full-text articles from scholarly journals and literary magazines are combined with critical essays, work and topic overviews, full-text works, biographies, and more to provide a wealth of information on authors, their works, and literary movements.
Recommended Databases NOT searched in Discovery:
- Children's Literature Comprehensive Database — CLCD offers more than 260,000 reviews of thousands of books for children and young adults.
- ProQuest Newspapers — Provides full-text access to five major national newspapers.
- Research Library — This is a general database that contains resources for a wide variety of disciplines, and so is worth checking for almost any topic.
MLA Style Guide - created and maintained by the Purdue OWL, this guide covers the basics of citing in MLA style.
Also check your Little Bear Handbook, or you can come and check out the complete style guide at the library's circulation desk.