This outlines a simple but effective approach to finding information for your assignment, based on the resources described in the Classics Subject Guide. Depending on your topic and your level of study, you may need to rearrange or review these steps.
It may seem obvious, but the first step is to make sure you understand the topic. Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question to help you develop a search strategy.
See also Library guides:
Use encyclopedias and dictionaries for Classics to find definitions and background information. Articles from specialised subject encyclopedias are authoritative and often substantial
Work out the types of resources you will need for your assignment. Depending on the topic, you are likely to need some of the following:
Chaining is a well-established and widely used method of gathering additional sources for a topic: Find one important scholarly work on your topic (sometimes called the “seed document”), and follow up the references that it cites in its footnotes, bibliography or list of references. Those cited works will cite other works in turn, which you can also seek out, and so the chain of citations continues.
For the method to work well, it is important to choose the “seed document” carefully. Ideally the “seed” will be a definitive and recent work on the topic, such as a seminal book or a review article. For undergraduate assignments, such a “seed” will often be listed in the Reading List prepared by your lecturer for the course.
The method has one obvious disadvantage: it can only take you backwards to older publications on the topic. It cannot help you discover any new literature and latest research. This drawback is overcome using Cited Reference Searching.
Citation indexes allow you to look forward in time, and find works citing a particular scholarly work (the “seed document”) that were published after the “seed document’s” publication date.
The underlying method is similar to that of “Citation Chaining”: if there is a scholarly work that is prominent in your area of research, it may be useful to identify later works that cite that work.
The most useful citation index for Classics is Google Scholar.
Simple, one-step searching across a range of the Library’s resources, including the Library Catalogue, most library databases, and some digital collections.
MultiSearch (via Summon) – further explanation of this finding tool.
The Library Catalogue lists books held in the Library's collection.
Hints for searching the Library catalogue
The Library Catalogue lists the print and electronic titles of journals held by the Library. Select the Browse Alphabetically: By Title search option and enter the full journal title.
To find articles on your specific topic, you will need to search these recommended databases . While none are specific to Classics, all index some classics journals.
The Internet can be a rich source of information but not everything will be useful or appropriate for research use. Web resources should be carefully evaluated and used in conjunction with the scholarly resources provided by the Library. Use the Advanced search features of Google or use Google Scholar to restrict your search to search results from more reputable sources.
References recommended on reading lists will already have been evaluated for quality. You will need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information will help to determine the quality of your assignment.
For writing and citing, see the Classics Dept Essay Guide
The Writing Guides for Classics page lists books that have useful advice for writing on arts subjects.
Remember to avoid plagiarism by citing all the sources of information you use in your essay.
See also the Library's online tutorial: