Reading Fiction

Course #: EN119-BR

Getting started

  • Acquire background literary information from one of Laurier’s online reference books. Click on Oxford Reference: Literature for 28 online literary encyclopedias (e.g. The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature or The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature). These volumes can be searched singly or simultaneously
  • To find information about literary terms (e.g. dramatic irony or postmodernism), look for a literary glossary such as The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (click on the tab "Online resources" to open), A Handbook to Literature (PN41.A2 1971) or A Glossary of Literary Terms (PN41.H6 2003). These last two books can be found on the lower floor of the Brantford Public Library

Finding books

  • Search Laurier’s Primo library catalogue for books on your topic. The default search is both books and articles so choose the “books” tab if you want to eliminate articles
  • You can start with broad keywords (e.g. “post-war fiction”) and then narrow down your results by clicking on one of the “refine your results” links on the left-hand side of the screen
  • For example, you can click on the subtopic “United States”
  • You can also limit your results to the Brantford campus and/or books published within a specific time frame (e.g. works published after 2006)
  • For works written by an author, change the dropdown option from “full record” to “author”
  • For works written about an author, change “full record” to “subject”
  • TIP: If you want criticism about a novel, you may find a chapter in a book about the author rather than an entire book devoted to a single novel

Find eBooks

  • Laurier's eBooks are just as scholarly as our print books
  • They are available 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection
  • Some of our ebooks can be downloaded and read on mobile devices (but not on the Kindle). If a book is downloadable, it will have a download link.
  • View a video tutorial on finding eBooks

Can't find it at Brantford? Request it

Finding articles

Too many search results?

  • If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “post-war fiction” instead of “twentieth-century fiction”)
  • Try adding more concepts to your search. Adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results (e.g. “post-war fiction” AND “feminism”)

Too few search results?

  • Think in terms of broader categories (“twentieth-century fiction” rather than “post-war fiction”)
  • Add alternate terms for each concept (“fiction” OR “novels”). Adding more terms that are linked by “OR” will increase your number of search results
  • TIP: Look at the bibliographies of the most pertinent books and articles on your topic. One author can lead you to others in the field

Need assistance with writing?

Creating a bibliography

Need help with research?

  • Don’t hesitate to contact me (Pauline Dewan); I am here to help you. For additional information, see my contact page
  • Email me at
  • Call me at 519 756-8228 ext. 5529
  • Drop in for help or make an appointment. My office is in the Digital Library and Learning Commons, on the lower level of Grand River Hall, room 108B
  • Instant message a Laurier librarian for help by clicking on “Ask Us” (from the homepage of the Laurier Library)

Please note: The Library is committed to providing programs, events and services that are accessible to all. Please contact us if you require accommodation due to a disability.