Course resource help for English Literature and Creative Writing

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Please get in touch if you have any queries about:

  • finding information and resources for assignments
  • finding online resources
  • referencing your sources

Joanna Cooksey

I'm currently hybrid working, so will sometimes be on Headington campus and sometimes working from home. Please email in the first instance. If you need a 1-to-1 appointment we can then arrange one either face-to-face or via Zoom or Google Meet. My usual working hours are 8.00 - 16.00, Monday - Friday.


Citing your sources (also called referencing) is an essential part of your academic work and is explained fully on our library referencing webpage.

If you are a student in English Literature, Drama or Creative Writing, you will need to use the MHRA referencing style in your assignments, projects and dissertation. 

Check the guide Reference with MHRA which shows you how to create footnotes and bibliographies, and how to reference different types of sources.

Outdoor study scene with chair, desk, books and laptop

Use the Library as a new student

Use LibrarySearch to find books and articles

Find resources for your assignments

Explore resources for Creative Writing

Photo of Brookes lecturer & poet Mary Jean Chan

Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre Collection

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre Collection was set up in collaboration with the Poetry Centre to showcase contemporary poetry. 

Much of the Collection comprises books that have been shortlisted for poetry prizes in the UK, Ireland and USA. 

It also includes the poetry pamphlets published by the award-winning ignitionpress, an imprint set up by the Poetry Centre.

All books can be borrowed by Brookes staff and students. Visitors are welcome to us the Collection for reference.

Dissertations, Major Projects and independent research

How to search databases

Databases are specialist search engines that can help you find high quality sources like journal articles. Use them when you are researching a topic, text or author, to find academic sources. 

In this section you'll find links and video guides to the key databases for English Literature and Creative Writing that will help you track down journal articles and reviews.

Further databases are listed in the Resources section above.

How to use JSTOR

An archive of full-text articles from a range of academic journals with good coverage of literary journals. It also includes open access eBooks.

Problems accessing JSTOR? Check the JSTOR troubleshooting guide

JSTOR research tools:

Highly recommended for anyone studying Shakespeare is JSTOR's Understanding Shakespeare tool that lets you look up quotations from a Shakespeare play and find JSTOR articles that reference them.

Try the Text Analyser tool (BETA) available on the database home page. You can upload an article and the tool will find similar content in the database. 

How to use MLA International Bibliography

MLA International Bibliography is a key database for in-depth research in literary studies that can help you find articles, books and book chapters.

Academic Search Complete is a large database covering all subject areas. It contains lots of full text articles and is an excellent resource for any topic.

Search MLA + Academic Search Complete together

Both databases are on a web platform called EBSCO and look the same. You can access the databases separately or search them together to find more sources.

  • Access MLA database
  • Click on the 'Choose Databases' link above the search boxes
  • Tick the box next to Academic Search Complete to add it to your search.
  • Click OK and you'll be returned to the search boxes.

How to use Performing Arts Periodicals Database

Performing Arts Periodicals Database is a mainly full-text database covering theatre, film, TV and computer games. It's recommended for Drama modules and is a good place to find reviews of plays in performance

Discover BoB (Box of Broadcasts)

BoB is an online service which gives you access to thousands of recorded TV, radio programmes and films from an online archive. 

Follow the link to access BoB. Click on 'Sign in', then type Oxford Brookes University in the Where are you from? box. The first time you access BoB, you will be prompted to create an account.

On Bob you can create your own playlists or browse existing ones. Take a look at the links below for a selection of playlists created by your Librarian.

man playing tuba next to mural of Shakespeare

Oxford Reference Online and OED

OED online version of the Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford Reference Online This is a collection of Oxford University Press reference books on a variety of subjects including Literature. Individual titles from the collection are also listed on LibrarySearch.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - an illustrated collection of essays providing the life stories of over 50,000 people who have shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond. Includes novelists, poets and playwrights.

Check the Reference in MHRA guide for how to reference entries from online dictionaries and reference works

Open book

Newspaper databases

Newspapers can be a good source for interviews and book reviews if you're looking at a contemporary text. We have two newspaper databases you can search:

  • Factiva is an international news database. It covers national newspapers, local newspapers and web sources as well as a selection of magazines. It's a good place to find book and theatre reviews.
    A guide to using Factiva to find newspaper articles (video)

  • Lexis+ is a law database which includes articles from UK national and regional news sources.
    How to use Lexis+ - see the section 'How to search newspapers'

Check Referencing in MHRA for guidance on how to reference newspaper articles correctly.

red frames glasses sitting on a pile of folded newspapers

Image databases

Bridgeman Education - more than 3 million images on all subjects including photographs, art works, museum collections. It’s very good for images of plays in performance and rehearsal

JSTOR image search (incorporating ARTstor) - JSTOR is a key database for English Literature, containing academic articles and books, but it also offers an image search. Use it to find high-quality images from around the world, including artworks, maps, photographs, and more.

Using images in your English & Drama assignments (Google slides) - check this guide which covers:

  • Understanding copyright
  • Finding free to use images
  • Crediting and referencing images

Actor Dominic West kneeling on stage next to some candles
Dominic West in The River by Jez Butterworth (photo) / Bridgeman Images

Discover Digital Theatre+

Digital Theatre+ is a collection of drama & theatre resources including essays, recordings of live performances & interviews with theatre practitioners. It's a key resource for Drama students. NB If using Chrome, make sure you have the latest version.

Photo of production of Negative Space from Digital Theatre+
Photo of production of Negative Space from Digital Theatre+

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