Welcome to this tutorial on MLA.

Use the arrows below to navigate through the tutorial.

Keyword searching

The MLA International Bibliography defaults to a generic keyword search.

We are writing a paper about Margaret Atwood's writings and postmodernism.

Let's get started by searching: "margaret atwood"

How many results do you get?

Author vs. Subject

1 of 3

What if you want to be more specific?

Let's try searching by Author. Margaret Atwood is an esteemed Canadian Author.

When you use the pull-down menu to select author and search "Margaret Atwood"

How many results do you get as Author?

Author vs. Subject

2 of 3

That retrieved all items written or edited by Margaret Atwood in this database. But what if you're analyzing her writing? You might need literary criticism about her.

Try this instead: change the pull-down menu from AU Author to SA Primary Subject Author.

This will search for articles primarily about her writing, not her writing itself.

How many do you get now?

Author vs. Subject

3 of 3

Searching by subject, author, or keyword retrieves  different results. It all depends on what you need!

Peer Review

Over 1000 articles is a lot to pick results from. We can narrow it down.

If you limit it by Peer Reviewed, you will only retrieve Peer Reviewed articles. Since this was recommended in class and on the syllabus, that's our next step.

Check the Peer Reviewed box on the left.

How many Peer reviewed articles are found?

Subject Terms

1 of 2

Maybe all 500 of these quality articles aren't all useful for your specific paper topic. Our paper topic is about postmodernism.

How can we narrow it down? Try the Subject suggestions on the left. Click Subject and Show More.

Check postmodernism and Update.

For the article "Metafiction and Ficto-Criticism, the Ultimate Subversions of Genre: Atwood's and Van Herk's Writings as Exempla", what is the Journal or "Source" of this article?

 

Subject Terms

2 of 2

So you know how to search for:

  • works by keyword
  • works by authors
  • works about authors
  • peer reviewed articles

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