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IST 605: English Literature Resources for Undergraduates

Resources for Undergraduates of English

About this guide

Welcome to our English Undergraduate libguide! This guide will give you a brief introduction to the different resources at your disposal as you proceed through your undergraduate studies. This guide is meant to give you a starting point on navigating databases and other online resources. 

The Resources tab will give you access to a list of resources that may help you in your research in English Literature with brief descriptions of how and why to use each resource.

The MLA Guidelines tab gives you some brief information on MLA format style, as well as some resources for MLA style. 

The References tab will give you the complete list of resources listed in this guide in APA style. 

General Search Tips:

Keyword search using subject, title, or author. If you know your topic, you may try related words. If you are writing about Virginia Woolf and feminism, you might try different combinations of keywords like "Virginia Woolf," "Feminism," "Women," "Sex," "Gender," or "Women's rights."

The narrower your search, the more relevant the material is likely to be. A broader search might help you get started in finding the correct keyword terms for your work.

Once you have found articles or items that match the search terms you applied, search those items’ bibliography for cited works that might also work for your topic. Each database or resource might have more specific strategies for finding relevant material, so keep that in mind when searching.

Developing a Thesis Statement

Most papers you write for the English department will require you to create a thesis statement. A thesis statement is the core argument of your paper, it is the main conclusion you reach from your textual analysis. Generally, your thesis statement should be the last sentence of your introduction paragraph. The rest of your paper should relate directly back to your thesis statement. You can think of your thesis statement as the foundation from which the rest of your paper grows from.


A good thesis statement is precise, specific, and provable. You should be answering a "How" or "Why" question with your thesis. A poor thesis statement maybe nonspecific or unprovable. 

Examples of bad thesis statements:

"Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is boring for many reasons."

"Huckleberry Finn is not a good novel because it is not fun to read."

A better thesis statement:

"In Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses sympathetic characters and humor to explore the absurdity of racial segregation in the antebellum South."

Notice how the second thesis statement here gives a hint of the types of evidence that may be used to prove it and gives a hint of how the essay will move forward.