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LIT 382: Cultural Trauma and Memory: Scholarly Articles & Books

Brainstorming keywords

Before you start searching for articles and books on your topic, it's helpful to consider the various possible keywords you could use to search, because the terms you automatically think of may not be the ones scholars use when they write about your topic.

One way is to start a list with all the keywords you can think of for your topic and all the synonyms and related words, another way is to do a mind map to help you come up with keywords. There is no right or wrong way to do this - what's right is whatever works for you! 

keyword list

keyword mind map

Recommended Databases

Most of these databases will help you find full text articles and citations for articles published in scholarly journals and other sources specific to literature.

There are also a few databases, such as JSTOR, PsycINFO, and the Diversity Studies Collection that also contain articles about other fields of study related to what you're discussing in this class. 

Citation Chaining

Finding additional articles and books on your topic in the Works Cited list of an article/book you're currently reading AND/OR finding other articles and books that cite the article/book you're currently reading is known as "citation chaining," and is a useful and important upper-level research strategy. Citation chaining helps you get a fuller picture of the scholarly conversation happening around a topic and/or literary work. Learn how to citation chain backward and forward in the sections below. 

Citation chaining illustration

Finding additional articles from a Works Cited list - citation chaining backward

Citation chaining backward involves finding an article, book, or book chapter from the Works Cited list of an article/book you're currently reading. In order to do this, copy and paste the information from the citation into the main library search form or into Google Scholar.

When using the library search form for this purpose, you might want to delete numbers and punctuation from the citation and just search for the most salient information: the article or chapter title, the author, and the publication (journal or book) title. When you conduct such a search, you will be taken to a results page where you will (hopefully) see your article. 

Article search results page

Click on the result and you will get more details about your article, including a link to the database(s) where the article is available. If no databases are available, select the WOU Interlibrary Loan option. 

When using Google Scholar for this purpose, always click on the "Find It @ WOU" link (learn more about the "Find It @ WOU" tool here) in order to access the article through Hamersly Library.


When you click the "Find it @WOU" link, you will be taken to the same page in the library catalog as shown above, with more details about your article, including a link to the database(s) where the article is available. If no databases are available, select the WOU Interlibrary Loan option.

Links to Google Scholar throughout the library's web pages are specially coded to tie in with our owned and licensed collections and to Interlibrary Loan when necessary, via the Find it at WOU link. Or, rather than hunting down the link every time, you can set your Google Scholar preferences to connect with the library:

  • Sign into your Google account, and then go to Scholar Settings.
  • Go to the 'Library Links' section and start typing "Western Oregon University" into the box. It should autofill the name for you.
  • Select the access boxes for Western Oregon University, and click Save.
  • Then, whenever you click on "Find it @ WOU" to link into WOU library resources, authenticate yourself with your Portal username and password when requested.

 Google Scholar preferences

Simply using the address without setting your preferences could cut you off from library access. You should never pay extra $$ to access an academic article - that's why you have a university library! If you have any trouble with the instructions above or ever need help accessing any article, please get in touch with your librarian. 

Finding additional articles from a Works Cited list - citation chaining forward

When citation chaining backward, we are using articles and books that the scholar author of the article we're currently reading used to build their argument. These cited sources are necessarily older than the article we're reading. How about reversing the process to discover more recent works which cite the article or book you're currently reading? That is citation chaining forward, and for this, Google Scholar is the best tool.

To citation chain forward, start out just the same as when you were citation chaining backward: type the citation information for your article into the Google Scholar search box.

Google Scholar search

Then, click the Cited by link at the bottom of the article's entry on the results page to be taken to a list of articles that have cited this article since its publication. Remember to use the "Find it @ WOU" link to get access to these articles, too!

Cited by link in Google Scholar

Your Librarian

Elizabeth Brookbank's picture
Elizabeth Brookbank

Available for one-on-one Zoom meetings! Email to schedule.

Contact WOU Library

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