Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.
Highlighted below are the core resources for English.
As well as these research databases, there is a vast collection of other resources relating to particular literary periods that you may want to consider in your research. Find out more in the Which resources do I use? section on this page.
What is a database?
Research databases enable you to see what has been published in the area you are researching. They contain detailed records of thousands of journal articles, book references and conference proceedings. These records usually include the article title, authors, abstract (a brief summary), keywords (to enable your search to find it) and more.
Why should I use a database?
There are many different databases. Their interfaces will all vary, and they may use different terminology.
However, they all have similar features. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to find your way around different databases. You can see the main features in the examples below.
This is what a standard database interface looks like:
Once you click the Search button, the results page appears:
It is important to note:
So, when searching databases, be prepared for an extra step.
After finding a relevant article or book you need to check whether you have access to that item, either in print or in full-text online. Many of the databases will have a Check for this at Exeter button; clicking on this link will check whether we have access to the item.
For more information and top tips on finding the full text, see the How to access full text articles libguide.
In some cases, material you want to consult may not be available to you at Exeter.
You will be using vast literature databases which feature many millions of resources from around the world. There are a number of options that may be of assistance to connect you with the information you need.
This service can be used to request books/journal articles from other libraries. There is a charge for this service. Check online to see what arrangements are in place with your College / Department for covering the costs of this service. You may have an allocation or your supervisor may provide a prepaid token for the request.
Students can make book suggestions to the Library. Submit requests online and they will be reviewed by the library. If the book is unlikely to be used by others after your dissertation work, then you may be directed to the Document Delivery scheme instead, for short term access to material.
Use this service to search across the book and journal collections of the UK research and specialist libraries.
You can search to see if copies of books/journals are available in other libraries that you could visit whilst at home over the vacation, or by a special trip. Always check the access requirements before you travel, if you wish to visit another library. Find out more about visiting other libraries.
It has been designed as the foremost platform for conducting Literary Research and incorporates Literature Online.
It contains 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, dissertations, and more than 500,000 primary works – including rare and obscure texts, multiple versions, and non-traditional sources like comics, theatre performances, and author readings.
Enter your terms into the search box, e.g. romanticism AND byron.
Your results are displayed divided into content type.
For example, if you would like to locate the works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
Select Author Pages option from above the search box
Enter Geoffrey Chaucer in the search box this should give search options as shown below. Select "Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400" or select the Go Directly to option.
The Author Pages provides a short biography of the author, links to the primary texts, recent criticism, criticism over time and reference works.
For example, you are searching for texts related to war and death that were published between WW1 and WW2.
The Texts list of results page will be displayed, listing the author, the title of the work containing the selected words and the line(s) containing the words.
For example, you are looking for occurrences of the word "jealousy" Literature Online will include old spellings as well for many keyword.
You can see the variants of Jealousy highlighted below:
For example, you are searching for reference material on the works of Scott Fitzgerald.
The results list will display all relevant materials.
For example, you would like to hear Jayne Cortez reading her own works.
Or, you would like to listen to a Shakespearean Play.
Here you can listen to the full play or select the relevant act.
For example, you are interested in learning more about poet Ezra Pound and hope to locate some of his poems.
The MLA International Bibliography covers scholarship dealing with the following fields:
The most common materials listed are books, book articles and journal articles.
To help you identify which resources will be useful to you, take a look at the following tabs. You can find out more information about how to search the resources by visiting the English: which resources do I use? guide.
Visit the Film Studies: effective research for dissertations libguide for further help with key resources in this area.
For creative writing resources, take a look at the Which resources do I use? guide