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ENGL 310: African American Literature: Home


african american authorsThis Library Guide was created in Spring 2017 (and last updated in Spring 2020) for students enrolled in Professor Grant's African-American Literature course. The tabs at the top of this guide highlight resources, search tips, and other guidance related to the final essay.

As explained in the assignment instructions available on Moodle, your final essay should be a 7-8 page argumentative essay using at least four secondary sources. Your secondary sources should be scholarly, peer reviewed articles or book chapters.

This guide is intended to help you find the kind of relevant secondary sources needed for this assignment.



(James Baldwin; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Richard Wright; Maya Angelou; Toni Morrison; Zora Neal Hurston)

[Composite Photograph of Six Authors.] Media-Connect, Finn Partners, 9 Feb. 2015,

Search Basics

The search box on the library's main page allows users to search for books, DVDs, videos, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, scholarly articles and more from one search box. If you're trying to access a book or article you already know about, you can enter the title or author's name here. If you're looking to find material about a specific topic, try entering two or three keywords that are likely to appear in discussions of that topic.

Main search box on library's home page

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words you use to search for anything online and they determine how successful your search is. If you're researching the links between poverty and obesity in children, for instance, the most important keywords would be: poverty, obesity, children. Database searches usually work better when you only enter 2-4 essential keywords than when you enter a complete sentence or question.

Here a couple of common problems you may run into and ways to fix them using keywords:

I'm getting too many results!

  • use keywords that are more specific (not as general)
  • add additional keywords to your search
I'm getting too few results!
  • ‚Äčuse keywords that are less specific (more general)
  • remove keywords from your search
These results are not what I'm looking for!
  • try different combinations of keywords
  • think of synonyms for your keywords










How do I Refine my Search Results?

From your list of results, use the "Refine Your Results" panel to narrow your search by publication date, source type, publisher, language and more. 

Refine Your Results