We’ve put together this page to provide you with some tips and information about the kinds of research and writing you might be assigned in the Department's classes. If you have any questions, please contact a member of the faculty.
Click on any of the following links or simply scroll down to review the material on this page.
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (ed. Gibaldi) is the definitive style guide when it comes to writing about literature and language. The MLA format for working with, quoting, and citing sources is frequently used in language and literature classes at Benedictine. If you are majoring in either Spanish or literature, you may wish to purchase this manual (available at the campus bookstore and at most online and bricks-and-mortar bookstores). Copies can also be found in the reference section of the Benedictine library (note that these do not circulate).
- MLA Style Guide (LibGuide)
Guidelines for how to cite quotations, create Works Cited pages, and format documents in MLA style. Includes examples of correctly formatted citations and documents.
- Additional information on quoting and acknowledging sources
Courtesy of the University of Victoria library.
- Additional information on MLA formatting and style
Courtesy of Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL).
- The Writing Program at Benedictine
Writing resources, exercises, and information about writing tutor services.
- The Student Success Center (SSC) at Benedictine
Provides students with support services, including peer tutoring.
Good citation practices can help you to avoid plagiarism, a form of academic misconduct that can jeopardize your course grades and college career. Plagiarism refers to the deliberate or inadvertent misrepresentation of another person's ideas and/or writing as your own.
The Department of Languages and Literature adheres to the Benedictine University policies on academic honesty and expects that all written work submitted in its classes will be the original work of the writer.
- Benedictine University Academic Honesty Policy
- Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism
Courtesy of Cornell University's College of Arts and Sciences
- Acknowledging the Work of Others
Courtesy of Cornell University's Office of the University Faculty
Assignments for many literature and foreign language classes often will require the use of research materials such as books, journal articles, or on-line resources. You may want to use either primary or secondary sources that are not available on campus. Below are some resources for effective research; remember, this process takes time. If you wait until the last minute, you may not find what you need.
- The MLA Bibliography indexes books and periodicals of interest to students of literature and foreign languages. The library subscribes to the Bibliography, which can be searched online. (on-campus only; login required for off-campus use). Additional databases likely to be of interest to literature and language students can be found here.
- Interlibrary Loan (ILL) refers to the national and regional system which allows students, faculty, and staff to borrow materials from libraries across the country. Benedictine also participates in the I-Share network, which allows our university community to request materials from 71 other libraries in the state of Illinois. Once you have done your research and located resources, go to the library website to place your I-Share and ILL requests, or visit the Library for assistance. Remember to allow at least two weeks for materials to arrive.
- The library's Literature LibGuide offers resources to help students "locate and retrieve quality information to support... research projects."
Though online research has become simpler and more practical in recent years, many online materials are still of poor quality, and some are frankly bogus. Materials housed at universities (i.e., those with a URL ending in .edu) tend to be more reliable. Be wary of sites that include student-authored materials, since these are sometimes posted as examples without having been edited or corrected.
As a general rule, online sources used for papers should be restricted to primary texts or detailed research (i.e., historical sources) from reputable sites. General reference works such as Wikipedia or dictionaries are typically not suitable as sources for most assignments. These materials are best regarded as providing a starting point for your own research; as such, they should not be used as secondary sources in your writing, unless your instructor gives you permission to do so.
Note that material found online is subject to the same citation and plagiarism rules that apply to other references (see above).
The English Language & Literature faculty recommend the following online resources as particularly useful for literature majors. (Remember: online research should supplement library research, not substitute for it!).
General English Language & Literature resources
- Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts
Collection of about 14,000 "classic" public domain documents from American and English literature as well as Western philosophy.
Full-text versions of many important literary works, along with electronic research sources.
- Benedictine Library Literature LibGuide
Guide to research maintained by Benedictine University Library reference staff.
- Electronic Texts for the Study of American Culture
Online versions of primary texts dealing with American literature and culture.
- Glossary of Rhetorical Terms
Wondering what asyndeton is? Looking for a quick definition of metonymy? Here's your resource.
- Google Book Search
Outstanding resource for finding online versions of difficult-to-find or out-of-print books.
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook
Links to a wide range of resources in history from the Reformation to the 20th Century.
- Literary Resources on the Net
Collections of links to resources in English and American literature.
- The Online Books Page
Over 25,000 free online books, including many culturally and historically significant works of literature.
- Oxford English Dictionary
The most comprehensive dictionary in existence, with detailed definitions, etymologies, examples of word usage throughout history, and much more. (on-campus only; login required for off-campus use)
- Project Gutenberg
Full-text versions of over 20,000 books, along with electronic research sources.
- Voice of the Shuttle
Outstanding online resource for humanities research, including extensive materials about and links devoted to literary studies.
Period- and theme-specific English Language & Literature resources
- Early Modern Literary Studies
Links to material on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature, including Shakespeare and Milton, plus background materials.
- PAL: Perspectives in American Literature
Research and reference guide for American authors.
- Postcolonial Studies
Resource for study of postcolonial literature and theory, including information on authors, theorists, and key terms.
- Romantic Circles
Refereed scholarly website devoted to the study of Romantic-era (1780-1830) British literature; includes primary texts, secondary sources, and historical and cultural material.
- Victorian Web
Resource for study of Victorian literature and culture; detailed information is organized by authors, topics, and themes.
- Voices from the Gaps: Women Artists and Writers of Color
Website devoted to study of minority women writers and artists, including detailed biographical, critical and bibliographical information.
The members of the Spanish language faculty recommend the following resources for students studying Spanish.
- Antología: “La narrativa”
Introduction to the study of narrative, including terms and concepts.
- Aspectos generales de la poesía
Introduction to key terminology for studying poetry, as well as questions to help guide one’s reading of a poem.
- Benedictine Library Spanish Language & Literature LibGuide
Guide to research maintained by Benedictine University Library reference staff.
- Cómo acentuar en español
Resource for learning Spanish accentuation rules.
- Elementos de la versificación española
Resource for studying Spanish poetry, including information about its formal features.
- El texto narrativo: tipos y técnicas
Resource with information about types and elements of narrative.
- Versificación española: el verso aislado
More information on understanding and working with meter, accents, and pauses in Spanish poetry.
Poetry is a way of looking at
the world for the first time.
– W.S. Merwin