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ENG 414: Shakespeare

ENG 414: Shakespeare studies the work of William Shakespeare through the study of his important plays: comedies, tragedies, and histories. This guide is designed to help you with your research for this class.


If you are just beginning your research you may want to look for articles in our general/multi-disciplinary databases and then move on to more subject specific databases. Listed below are links to our database page as well as some good general databases to get you started.

Scholarly Articles Explained

Why do you need scholarly articles?

Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed journals contain literature that is written by experts in a particular field of study. 

The articles often contain reports on original research studies, literature reviews and more. 

Such articles are essential when writing for undergraduate courses, dissertations, thesis, grant proposals, etc.

Using scholarly research for your papers or speeches provides the backing of experts, which can make your argument stronger.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals are usually peer-reviewed. This means that each article was sent by the editors to other experts in the subject for their comments and approval. You can find if a journal is peer-reviewed in a statement about the journal, usually inside the front or back cover.

You can usually tell if a journal is scholarly by the following criteria:

  • Provides in-depth analysis of subjects
  • Reports on original scholarly research
  • Has a bibliography of works cited
  • Contains lengthy articles, typically more than 5 pages
  • Signed by the author; a sentence about the author's academic background is often included
  • Follows standard citation format
  • Any illustrations or photographs support the argument of the text
  • Written in the jargon of the discipline

You can find scholarly journals and articles in many of the library's databases. Databases likes Academic Search Complete, Education Source, PyscINFO, and others allow you to limit results to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals and articles. Some databases, like JSTOR, only contain scholarly content.

Examples of Scholarly Journals

Popular Journals

Popular Journals

Popular journals include news, feature stories, opinion/editorial pieces, etc. The goal of popular journals is to inform and entertain.

You can determine whether a publication is a popular journal by the following criteria:

  • Provides brief information
  • Covers news or current events
  • Rarely has a bibliography or references
  • Articles are usually short
  • Often unsigned; even if signed, there is usually no information about the expertise of the author
  • Has lots of advertisements, glossy photographs, and “eye-catching” colorful illustrations
  • Written for a general audience

At first glance some "professional" magazines may appear to be scholarly journals. Make sure you check the criteria for scholarly journals to determine if it is a scholarly journal or a popular journal. Don't judge just by title.

Examples of Popular Journals

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Rolling Stone
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Sports Illustrated
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The New Yorker