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Literature and Writing Research


Writing Tools

While creative writing and poetry may not need research sources which literature scholars need, there are times when tools and resources are helpful.


To look for articles in journals, you will need to start with a research database. Check the Databases tab on the library home page and select the Literature subject limiter for the most appropriate available licensed resources. These provide full text or abstracts of articles from thousands of journals and other sources.

Some databases such as MLA do not offer full text of the articles. Use the Check SFX for Availability button to check our other resources for full text.


Not everything is available on the Internet, and as old-fashioned as it may seem, the best place to begin your research is in your library's collection -- Really! A lot of time and money is spent on collecting the best for your courses -- especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by the project. To search for books, you need to use a library catalog. Depending on how much time you have, you have a couple of options for extending your search.

CSUSM's Collection

Library Catalog
Search our local collection of about 250,000 books.

How to Search the Catalog
The simplest way to get started is by using the default KEYWORD search. Type in one or two words about your topic (examples are: rhetoric, creative writing, narratives) to begin your search.

Once you have a list of results (these are book and journal titles), click on likely titles to view the entire record.

For more precise searching, look at the SUBJECTS on items that meet your research needs and follow those links to find other works on your topic that don't necessarily use the same terminology that you did in the keyword search. An example is a broad keyword search on 'narrative writing', with 677 items returned on all types of narrative writing. But then you find the subject heading Narration (Rhetoric) with only 38 titles to examine and some of which did not return in the 'narrative writing' search.

Other Options in Books

Circuit (1-3 day delivery)
Search the collections of other San Diego area libraries -- about 3,000,000 books. Find and request books directly online; pick them up at our Library in 1-3 days.

WorldCat (5-10 day delivery)
Search the collections of libraries world-wide -- about 52,000,000 books. Find a book in this database, and fill-out an Interlibrary Loan delivery request. Books will be delivered to Library for pickup.  

Online Resources

Writing Center Sites

Full-text Literature Sites

Electronic Books and Technologies

Tutorials and Tools  



Citing Your Sources

As you write your papers in LTWR courses, you'll need to cite passages and ideas from the sources you've found. You may find the following sites useful to supplement Keys for Writers and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

Professional Resources

Literary Market Place
Listings for publishers, agents, manufacturers and other businesses associated with publishing. Free users have access to partial content of the full resource found in Library Reference at PN161 .L5

Writer's Market
Similar to LMP with focus on the writer, rather than publisher. Of special note are tips to novice and experienced professional writers and a glossary of terms used in the writing profession (See "encyclopedia" link.) (Full resource in Library Reference at PN161 .W83)

Organizations, Listervs and Blogs