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  • Otis Books is pleased to publish Tim Erickson’s debut collection of poetry, Egopolis, a textual journey through destruction, resistance, city, and the Ego, from ancient times to the present day. Erickson’s work has appeared in the Chicago Review, Western Humanities Review, and the Salt Anthology of New Writing. He lives in Salt Lake City.

  • Otis Graduate Writing students will read from their works-in-progress.

  • David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and currently teaches at USC. He is the author of the novels Little, The Hiawatha, The Translation of Dr. Apelles, named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, as well as a critical work, Native American Fiction: A User's Manual. In 2012, he published another nonfiction work, Rez Life.

  • Angela Flournoy’s first novel The Turner House was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, and she has written for The New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Flournoy has taught at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She lives in Los Angeles.

  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.

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Example: Beginning Your Research

Using the topic of Matt Groening and the Simpsons, let's find information that provides academic viewpoints related to the cultural significance of this artist and his work.

1. Start with the OPAC, the Library catalog, to find books.

Because this database is relatively small, try a key word search to see the broadest range of what's available.

Simpsons - OPAC header

 

 

You'll get 25 items, a reasonable number to look through. Look carefully at each title. Some are comics written by Matt Groening, some DVDs, some are electronic books. There are one or two items that may provide an academic treatment of the subject.

Leaving Springfield :The Simpsons and the Possibilities of Oppositional Culture is around #10 on the list. Click on the title which is a link to the full record for this book. You'll find clues about its scope. Notice that the publisher is Wayne State University. Read the Table of Contents. From chapter titles, you'll easily see that this is likely a scholarly or academic source.

 

  Simpsons - Complete Guide (cover)

 

 

Simpsons- Leaving Springfield (cover)

 

2. Next, try the databases.

Click on the link to EBSCO Art Source.

Databases

 

 

Enter your search term in the search box.

This database is much bigger than the OPAC. A keyword search on the Simpsons will result in more than 1800 results.

ebsco simpsons

3. Look carefully at the first 40 results or so.

Many are "false hits" for this topic. That means that they aren't about Matt Groening's Simpsons. They are about other people named Simpson.

Notice that you can check the boxes for Full Text and Scholarly/Peer Reviewed and hit update. That will limit the number of hits to about 164. But there are still way too many false hits.

So, add another term to the search box, like "tv."

You will then see only 3 results. MUCH better!

 



 

 

Simpsons - EBSCO result


If you click this title, you'll see that it's a link to the complete  ABSTRACT or  summary which says:

Reading the interplay between text, audience, and institutional context, this article critically examines the distinctiveness of The Simpsons. It explores how the animated series uses textual strategies that are interesting to and challenging for both (postmodern) critical theory and processes of interpretation , including existing critical writing on the program.

From this ABSTRACT you can tell that this article contains a critical or theoretical analysis of the Simpsons.

  

4. Compare the results from database with what you find through Google.

Because the web is so enormous, using more terms is wise. Even so, the results are over 1.5 million hits.

Notice that a lot of fan sites come up. Most of these will not be useful for an academic paper.

Wikipedia comes up. Fine for background information, but it's really very superficial and fact-based. Look at the article and compare it with the scholarly articles that were retrieved through the database. Nothing in Wikipedia comes close to that level of writing.

The web is good for getting ideas and basic background information. But, you need more than facts for college level research papers. Books and journal articles with scholarly writing will be necessary.
 

 LIB simpsons google