My last post concerned the problem of teaching undergraduates how to do humanistic research, when so much of an experienced scholar’s process relies on experience-based heuristics that undergraduates can’t use.
My current answer to one part of that question is expressed in a handout I have used for a few years and recently webified. It is a guide to finding secondary sources for a research paper in English.
At its heart is a journey backwards and forwards in time. I suggest using recent bibliographies and critical pieces to identify keystone texts, the older critical works that did most to shape current debates. Those keystone texts, in turn, provide search terms that help structure searches of full-text databases.
I hope interested students, faculty, and librarians will have a look at the guide and let me know what they think. I’m always tinkering.