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Research Guides

WRIT 127: American Protest Literature: Context & Overviews

Prof. Battat - Fall 2020

Use SuperSearch fo Find Background Sources

You can use our library search tool SuperSearch to find biographical and other background information on your chosen author. Use the Reference Content Type filter to limit your results to articles from a range of reputable encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other sources — all available to you online when you're logged in with your Wellesley credentials.

Search tips:

  • Put words in quotation marks to search them as a phrase. Searching for "Nellie Wong," for example, weeds out sources that have Nellie and Wong in them but not together.
  • For a more comprehensive search, try variations on how a name might appear in a source; for example:

("Nellie Wong" OR "Wong Nellie")

  • The Reference filter can miss some good biographical and background content. Another strategy you can try, especially if there aren't a lot of results, is removing the Reference filter and adding biograph* to your search, for example: 

("Nellie Wong" OR "Wong Nellie") AND biograph*  

(The asterisk * is a shortcut for searching for different forms of the word: biography, biographical, etc.)

 

Screen shot of a search in Supersearch with "Nellie Wong" OR "Wong Nellie" in the search box, and the reference filter checked, showing three of 32 results from different reference sources

Reference Collections

Although SuperSearch searches most of the content in our Reference databases, these individual databases can make it easier to focus your search (for example, by limiting to biographical articles or filtering for shorter or longer articles). They will also sometimes find articles that don't show up in SuperSearch. If you are working on a writer who is African American or from the African Diaspora, the Oxford African American Studies Center is an important source to search.

Why Use Reference Works?

Reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks can provide 

  • quick overview of a topic or biography of a person, often written by scholars in the field
  • vocabulary or keywords for searching
  • suggestions for further sources

Selected Reference Works

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Karen Storz
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