This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the power of language. It is meant as a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please stop by the Reference Desk in person or pose your question online at Ask a Librarian.
The Geisel Library website includes a Research Help page, which contains numerous guides to using library resources and finding information.
Before looking for books and journal articles on your topic, it is helpful to explore reference resources such as subject-specific encyclopedias. These resources can provide background information on authors and literary works, as well as the social issues, historical periods, and themes being addressed in this course. They can also help you identify keywords to search in the online catalog and journal databases. Print reference books are in the Reference Collection on the library's main level, while online reference sources are listed on the E-Reference Resources webpage.
Concise Encyclopedia of Sociolinguistics
A great entry point for researching many topics in this class, including bilingualism, identity and language, social class, minority languages, and power differentials.
Dictionary of Native American Literature
Ref PM155 .D53
Encyclopedia of American Social Movements (4 vols.)
Ref HN57 .E594
Encyclopedia of Communication and Information (3 vols.)
Ref P87.5 .E53
Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe
Ref P380 .E53
The World's Major Languages
Ref P371 .W6
Geisel Library Catalog
To find books on your topic in the Geisel Library collection, you will want to try a combination of Keyword and Subject searching in the catalog. First, try searching Keywords that represent your topic of interest. Use the Boolean AND to combine together multiple concepts, and use the Boolean OR to expand your search with synonyms and related terms. Use the * (asterisk) to retrieve variant forms of a word; for example, racis* will find books with the words "racist" or "racism" in the catalog record.
Here are some examples:
- language AND (protest OR revolution)
- (postcolonial OR post-colonial) AND literature
- (language OR linguistics) AND (wom*n OR gender)
- bilingual AND (educat* OR school*)
Also try searching some of the phrases below as Subject Headings in the catalog. Subject headings are assigned to books to describe their primary subject matter and themes. Subject searching is effective for finding books about broad concepts like "social aspects of the media" or "racism in language". If you are researching a particular author or work, try searching the author's name as a Subject to locate biographies and literary criticism.
- Communication - Social aspects
- Discourse analysis
- Imperialism in literature
- Language and culture
- Language and education
- Language obsolescence
- [Name of Language] language - History (for example, "French language - history")
- Racism in language
- Sexism in language
- Speech and social status
If you are unable to locate enough materials in the Geisel Library catalog, search the collections of libraries worldwide using WorldCat. This enables you to identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use, via our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. Try searching the same keywords and subject headings that you used in the library catalog. If you find a relevant book, click on the title and look for the Request ILL link. Once you submit the request, the book is typically delivered to Geisel Library within 7–8 days.
Below are several databases that may yield useful journal articles for your research. Try searching on the same keywords that you used in the book catalog, combining concepts together using the Boolean AND and OR operators. Once you find relevant articles, examine the subject headings that have been assigned to them and conduct Subject searches on the ones that seem most potentially fruitful.
Before you start searching for articles in online journal databases there are a two things you need to be aware of:
When examining your search results you may come across the WebBridge icon. This icon means that the full text is not available in the database you are currently searching. To locate the full text, simply click on the icon to determine whether the journal is available in Geisel Library or in another electronic database. If the article isn't available, click on the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox in approximately 3-7 business days. To learn how to use WebBridge, watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).
If you find a citation to an article in the bibliography of a book or article you can use Journal Finder to see whether or not Geisel Library has access to the volume and issue that you need. Simply type in the name of the journal in Journal Finder and click search. If we have access to that title Journal Finder will tell you where you can locate it (either electronically or in print). If we do not have access to the journal you need you can place an interlibrary loan request for that item. To learn more on how to use Journal Finder watch our video tutorial.
Academic Search Premier
Provides abstracts and some full-text of scholarly and popular journals for a range of academic areas, including literature, politics, and sociology.
Search here for full-text articles from major scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences.
A massive database covering a wide range of subjects, with full-text of scholarly journal articles, newspaper articles and dissertations.
Subject Specific Databases
America: History and Life
The best place to start for topics involving United States history. Be sure to use the Historical Period From/To limiter (down below the full text limiter checkboxes) to specify your time period of interest.
The best place to start for world history outside the US. Use the Historical Period From/To limiter (down below the full text limiter checkboxes) to specify your time period of interest.
Literature Resource Center
Limit the content type to "Literature Criticism" to find the full text of journal articles on works of literature from more than 100 literary journals.
MLA International Bibliography
Start here for papers with a literary focus. This database provides citations for articles pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.
An excellent starting point for social perspectives on language issues. This sociology database provides full-text journal articles and citations to books and conference papers.
This is the premier resource for accessing scholarly research in the field of psychology.
For assistance with formatting your citations in MLA style, consult your copy of Doing Honest Work in College or ask for the MLA Handbook (Ready Ref LB2369 .G53) at the library's reference desk. You can also find links to online citation guides on the library's Citing Sources webpage.