Department of Languages and Literature

Links and Resources

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.


Writing: quotations, citation, and other matters

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 Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue OWL: Online Writing Lab)
    Guidelines for how to cite quotations, create Works Cited pages, and format documents in MLA style. Includes examples of correctly formatted citations and documents.
  • The Writing Program at Benedictine
    Writing resources, exercises, and information about writing tutor services.

Academic honesty

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.

Finding research materials

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.


Choosing and evaluating online sources

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).

Online research resources for English Language & Literature

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

    Full-text versions of many important literary works, along with electronic research sources.
  • Benedictine Library Literature Research Guide
    Guide to research maintained by Benedictine University Library reference staff.
  • Google Book Search
    Outstanding resource for finding online versions of difficult-to-find or out-of-print books.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Online research resources for Spanish language and literature study

The members of the Spanish language faculty recommend the following resources for students studying Spanish.

Poetry is a way of looking at
the world for the first time.

– W.S. Merwin