Skip to Main Content
Research Guides

WRIT 146: Alternative Worlds


Photo of sunset in Mono Lake, CaliforniaI hope this guide will provide some useful starting places for your research, as you work on your sourced papers. I'm happy to consult with you about any part of the research process, from finding and evaluating sources to understanding how to cite them. You can email me or make a Zoom appointment on my calendar. We can also arrange a time for a text chat — whatever works for you!   Karen​ Storz, Research & Instruction Librarian

Mono Lake, Ca - Crayons from outer space, Photo by Pacheco, Flickr, Creative Commons license

Get Started with SuperSearch

SuperSearch can be a great place to start your search for journal articles, books, and almost everything else the library has, in one easy to use interface. You can use the filters on the results screen to improve your results. Try limiting to Full Text Online, and then Book/eBook for books or Peer-Reviewed Article for scholarly journal articles.


For searching with more focus and precision, try one of the databases recommended on the Find Articles page, or search the Library Catalog from the Find Books page.

SuperSearch results can sometimes be overwhelming and unfocused. For searching with more focus and precision, try the key databases recommended on this guide, or search the library catalog for books and films. 

SuperSearch Video Tutorial

Search Key Databases for Topics in Literature

Databases can contain a combination of full-text (ready to read online) and citation information that can lead you to articles, book chapters, or books. It's always a good idea to search in more than one database. Even if there is considerable overlap in content, the different search capabilities and features of each database can help you find different sources. Check out our full Database A-Z list and filter by Subject to find other databases for your topic.

Searching a Subject-Specific Database (Video Tutorial)

Try these Search Tips

Use quotation marks " " to search words as a phrase. This will narrow your results.

"science fiction"

Use AND to combine multiple concepts in your search. This will narrow your results.

"science fiction" AND gender

Use OR to find different ways your topic could be expressed. This will expand your results. Group these related terms in parentheses, so the database interprets them first. The following search will find results that have any one of the terms in parentheses as well as the phrase "science fiction."

"science fiction" AND (gender OR "sex role" OR femininity OR masculinity)

Use an asterisk * to find variant endings. This will expand your results

"science fiction" AND (gender* OR "sex role" OR feminin* OR â€‹masculin*)

Get Background Information & Context

SuperSearch can also be a good way to find encyclopedia articles from a range of sources to get background on a topic or an overview of a concept.

Enter your search terms, and limit your results to Content Type: Encyclopedias & More. (If you don't this under Content Type, click More to see the full list, check the box next to Encyclopedias & More, and the click Apply.)

Find Books on Your Topic

After you do your search, change Entire Collection to Online/electronic to see only materials available online. 

Looking for that One Perfect Source?

Your topic seemed so great! So why can't you find any information on it? If you're looking for an all-in-one source that addresses your topic perfectly, you might need a different approach. (From the North Carolina State University Libraries)

This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.