Still having trouble finding sources?

Yes, I know.  You went to the library, and someone checked out every book on your author.  Yes, you still need secondary sources.  Here's how to solve the problem.

  1. Use journals instead of books.  To find them, look up your author or work in the MLA database in Melvyl.  If you're unsure of how that works, see the library's help page or a librarian.   Click here for the database page.
  2. Explore a related scientific issue instead of focusing exclusively on your author.  For example, if  you plan to write about "Schwarzchild Radius," why not find out exactly what it is?  The library has many science reference books, and the  Online Reference Page is a good place to start.  Warning! Avoid any use of banned reference sources (see below)!
  3. Use literary criticism for help with methodolgy and history, rather than for criticism on your particular author.  For instance, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction by Darvo Sirkin, now on reserve in RBR, provides both an excellent history of science fiction and a useful guide to the terms and ideas used for science fiction criticism.  Compare how he describes a work of science fiction with the work you chose, or borrow one of his ideas or terms for use in your own criticism.  Be sure to cite him (or anyone else) properly.
  4. Persist and think.  I have heard many students say, "I went to the library and there's nothing there" when in fact, there was an enormous amount of useful material available.  Try other avenues; try another database; try another search term; broaden your search or narrow it; talk to a librarian, a friend, or a TA.  Keep thinking about new angles or approaches, and you'll find something.  Searching for sources is never mechanical, and often the quickest approach is the dullest.  Just going to Pegasus and typing in your author's name is the least interesting thing you can do--think hard about what you want to say, then find sources who will help you say it.
Banned sources: Below is a list of sources you may not use as support for your paper.  That doesn't mean you can't read them; it just means that using them as sources in your essay is likely to weaken your argument. Final words of advice.  Start early, and talk to your TA, your librarian, and your friends.  Just putting your research problem into words can often be helpful, and the answer is often staring you in the face.  Bounce your ideas off someone else, and it may come to you.  If all else fails, send me an email, and I'll try to help you if I can.