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English Research Guide: Find Books and E-Books

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As a King's student, you have access to thousands of e-books, which can be accessed 24/7 and don't require you to come into the library. This guide below provides information about the various databases. 

Below are sample searches in eBook Academic Collection. If you click on the links, the searches will open, and you can browse the collections.

Subject Terms

English language - - Rhetoric English fiction - - 18th century
Academic writing Gothic revival (Literature)
English language - - Study and teaching Poets, English
Literature - - History and criticism Postcolonialism in literature
Canadian literature (English) Secularism in literature
English literature - - 19th century Identity (Psychology) in literature
Literature and society Literature, Comparative
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 English literature - - Censorship
Christian literature, English Body image in literature
Women and literature Realism in literature
Masculinity in literature English drama
Sex role in literature English language - - Social aspects
Creative writing Religion and literature
Romanticism English literature - - Early modern
English literature - - philosophy Idealism in literature
Allegory Values in literature
Postmodernism (Literature) Literature, Medieval
Modernism (Literature) Love in literature
Literary theory

What Makes a Book Scholarly?

Scholarly books disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines.  They are intended for academic study and research, and are preferred when writing college-level papers. They are published by academic or university presses.

Adapted from University of Toronto Libraries.  

                                               Scholarly Books                                                Non-Scholarly Books


  • To share with other scholars the results of primary research & experiments.
  • To entertain or inform in a broad, general sense.


  • A respected scholar or researcher in the field; an expert in the topic; names are always noted.
  • A journalist or feature writer; names not always noted.


  • A university press; a professional association or known (independent) scholarly publisher.
  • A commercial publisher.

Intended audience

  • Other scholars or researchers in the field, or those interested in the topic at a research level.
  • General public.


  • Language is formal and technical; usually contains discipline-specific jargon.
  • Language is casual. Few, if any, technical terms are used (and if they are, they are usually defined).


  • References are always cited and expected; text often contains footnotes.
  • Very uncommon; text may contain referrals to "a study published at..." or "researchers have found that..." with no other details.


Adapted from University of Toronto Libraries 

These clues will go a long way towards assisting you in differentiating between books intended for the scholar and therefore, preferred when writing research papers, from trade publications or mass market publications that are intended for a general audience.

Publisher: A good clue to a scholarly resource is its publisher. 

Books from publishers specializing in the field will tend to be of better quality textually then those that don’t.

  • Look for “About” and a “Mission Statement”
  •  Consider how long they’ve been in business?
  • Do they provide services to academia?
  • Books published by a university press will tend to be more academically sound than those published by trade publishers, especially if the institution has a good reputation in the field covered by the work. 

Cited References and Bibliography – Even more than a useful tool for evaluating the reliability of an author, cited references are an excellent indication of the scholarship of a work. 

  • Look for cited references or at least a bibliography in the work itself.  Most books intended for the scholar contain citations and a bibliography, whereas books intended for a general audience do not.
  •  Also, consider who is being cited; how frequently are the references cited elsewhere; has any one cited the work being evaluated and is this perhaps the primary source?
  • For works in the humanities, a good clue that you’ve found the primary source is when you keep getting referred to the same source over and over again.  
  • Works in the sciences will report on original research.

Content – examine these aspects of the work to assist in ascertaining the scholarship of a work:

  • Accuracy:  how does the information compare to that of other works on the subject?
  •  Biases:  all authors are biased, but scholarly works tend to reflect the results of research in the field and not propagandize.
  • Preface, Introduction, Table of Contents, Conclusion and Index:  most scholarly works will have several, if not all, of these components. Consider also how well the author lives up to his/her claims indicated in the preface, introduction and conclusion.
  • Audience appropriate: a scholarly work will be written to those with some knowledge of or ability to understand the topic under discussion.

Graphics, Charts, Illustrations, etc.:  many scholarly works will have graphs, charts, illustrations, etc.

© Janet Tillman/The Master’s University, 2008-2014, permission is granted for non-profit educational use; any reproduction or modification should include this statement.

New Books

Shakespeare and Text by John Jowett

 Call Number: PR 3071 J69 2019

Religion in the Handmaid's Tale by Colette Tennant  

Call Number: PR 9199.3 A8 H338 2019

Sylvia Plath in Context by Tracy Brain (Editor)  

Call Number: PS 3556 L27 Z9156 2019

Shakespeare and the Folktale by Charlotte Artese  

Call Number: PR 3004 A78 2019

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Call Number: PS 3562 A316 A6 2019

Starvation Shore by Laura Waterman

Call Number: PS 3573 A8145 S73 2019

Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield

Call Number: PS 8615 E259 A76 2018

Browse the Shelves

Suggested call numbers:

  • PN 1-6725
  • PR 1-9680
  • PS 1-3623
  • PS 8000-8599
    Canadian literature