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Literature in English: The Research Process

English literature, American literature, and world literature in English

Where do I begin?

You've just been handed your assignment. Write a 7-10 page paper analyzing an aspect of a particular play. Now what do you do? Where do you start?

First, take a deep breath and calm down. Then, read the play.

Step 1- Read

READ THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really, I mean it! READ the book (or poem or essay or play).

Step 2-Think

Think about the work.

  • What did you like?
  • What did you hate?
  • Are there any characters you're curious about?
  • Why did that happen?
  • What was your favorite scene?

By answering these questions, you end up choosing a topic.

Step 3-Read (again)

Read the book--again.

This time, think about the questions in step 2. Make note of passages that answer those questsions.

Step 4-Search

Brainstorn keywords from your topic and start searching databases.

Be sure to read the rest of this guide for hints on how to do the most effective searches.

After searching, read the articles.

Step 5-Write

Write your paper.

Be sure to include

  1. Quotes from the book
  2. Quotes from secondary sources
  3. Your own analysis

Reference Books