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FREN 250: Culture and Civilization of France: Getting Started

Start Your Research at the Library

Use this guide to get started with your research for FREN 250: Culture and Civilization of France

Tips from your librarian:

  • Start Early! It's likely you'll need to request materials from SUMMIT and via Tipasa, so you want to allow time for materials to arrive. [Note that SUMMIT items have a check-out period of six weeks.]
  • Seek out a variety of sources: books, essays in books, journal articles.
  • Use a variety of search tools: Primo, multiple databases, sometimes even Google Scholar.
  • Keep careful notes on all of your sources.  If an online knowledge management tool like Zotero or RefWorks is not for you, make sure that any system that you do use is thorough.
  • Contact a librarian whenever questions arise. Quick questions can be answered via email; more in-depth questions can be handled best with an appointment.

Using Subject Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias and other reference resources are excellent places to start your research! Scholars write the entries, which typically offer not only an overview of the topic, but also an account of how experts and others have interpreted it over time. 

You usually can expect to find the following important information in articles in subject encyclopedias:

  • An overview of the topic, with key individuals and events identified, and often some mention of how the topic has been studied 
  • Cross references to give you a sense of the boundaries of the topic and its relationship to other topics
    • Look for "see also" at the beginning or end of the article
    • Some encyclopedias highlight words in the text of the article to indicate that there is a separate entry on that topic
  • Bibliographies of key secondary literature (books and articles) on the topic
  • Scholarly editions of primary sources may be listed in the bibliography
    • The main body of the article may mention key primary source writings and their author(s)
    • Some encyclopedias include excerpts of primary source materials

Subject Encyclopedias for French History and Culture

Print reference books are located on the first floor of Collins Library.

Broad Overviews

Humanities Librarian

Katy Curtis's picture
Katy Curtis
Office: Collins Library 140

Related Guides

Online Reference Collections

Not sure where to look?  Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.