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COMP 111: The Nature of Narrative: Socio-historical context

Researching socio-historical context

There are many approaches to researching the socio-historical context of a work of literature, you may want to look for: 

  • news articles  
  • background information about a country  
  • scholarly discussion about a country or event 

Search strategies and the search tools you use will vary based on what you want to find. The search strategies on this page are only starting point - if you want to learn more, schedule an appointment with the Comparative Literature librarian. 


Library Catalog Search Strategies

In library catalogs, such as the Williams Library Catalog and Worldcat  you can search for information about 

  • a country or region 
  • a person 
  • an historical event 
  • a literary or cultural trend 

The best search strategy when search for socio-historical context is to start with keyword searches and expand to subject searches 

  1. Keyword searching: Use terms of your using - combine them in a variety of combination to maximize chances of finding sources
  2. Subject searching: Use standardized subject terms assigned by the Library of Congress.  Using one of the book found through your keyword searches, trace the relevant subject heading. Subjects used to research socio-historical context would look like this: