Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Brief Guide to Literary Resources & Criticism: Before Starting Research

Before Starting Research

Literary research is most fruitful when some preliminary considerations are kept in mind:

  • Literary research, like all research, takes time; it is important to start as early as possible. With sufficient time, you will be able to access more resources, insuring better and more thorough results.


  • Set up an Interlibrary Loan account(ILLiad) and get a Direct Access Program (DAP)card:
    • ILLiad is a integrated interlibrary loan service through which you can request materials from remote libraries. Once the account is set up, borrowing is extremely easy. Many requests can be handled electronically, with articles delivered directly to your email account. Accounts can be set up easily online through the Library’s homepage listed under “Library Services” or go directly to ILLiad. Accessible to University at Albany users only.
    • DAP card allow you to go to local participating libraries and borrow directly, which can greatly speed up the process of getting important materials. To get a DAP card, take your valid student ID and go to the Circulation Desk. They usually do them on the spot and it takes about 10 minutes.


  • Formulate a thesis statement before beginning your search. This is essential for two reason
      1. A thesis statement provides you with a focused topic.
      2. A thesis statement provides you with specific search terms.
      NOTE: For an brief explanation of a thesis statement,look at the Research Process or ask at the Reference Desk.


  • When you start searching, begin with this list, in ascending order, for the best resources in terms of quality and scope of coverage:
    • Catalogs(OPACs): University at Albany Libraries' and other
    • Databases
    • Electronic Journals (E-Journals or Online Journals)
    • Internet