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FYS: Out of the Gutter: Analyzing Comics and Graphic Novels: Home

A getting started research guide to a Butler University First-Year Seminar on Comics and Graphic Novels, with an emphasis on the Superhero.

MLA Style

Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a trusted source for citation style instructions.  

The Purdue Online Writing Lab Citation Guide


Citation Management


Evaluate Your Sources

>Who is the author/creator? What is their expertise? Is it education or experience? Did they live through an event? What makes them an authority?

>Is there anything about this source that makes you doubt its credibility? Are there sources cited? What are these sources and does the author correctly interpret these sources?

>When and why was this source written? Is it trying to sell something or inform you? Is is too old to be relevant? Do you need something older?

>Does this information help you with your research need? Does it add value? What does it lack?

>How do you plan on using this source? Is it background info? Is it something you are arguing against?

Books, Scholarly Articles, General Readership Articles

Begin your search here:  WorldCat Discovery-a mega search tool!

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Examples of what you will find below!

Article Databases:

Go to the Databases by Subject list for other subject databases.

Films on Demand logoButler Libraries subscribe to three documentary/educational film collections, Films on Demand, VAST, and Kanopy.  Check out the links to these databases below for interviews and biofilms on your person of significance. 

Librarian Contact for this LibGuide

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Sally Neal
I am the subject librarian for:

  • Strategic Communication
  • Journalism
  • Sports Media
  • Esports
  • Exploratory Communication
  • English
  • Exploratory Studies
  • Schedule an appt. with me for research support in these disciplines.

    109B Irwin Library

    Neal Library Instruction Evaluation



    Two is better than one

    Think about it: search engines crawl thousands, maybe even millions and billions, of pages or records trying to match your search term with results. You're going to be absolutely overwhelmed with results if you only enter a single search term. You're also going to find a lot of completely irrelevant stuff.

    So how can you improve your chances?  

    Come up with multiple search terms and combine them using the options described here.

    Venn diagram highlighting the area of overlap between the two circles.

    Combining search terms with AND will:

    • Reduce the number of results
    • Make the search focus more specifically on your topic

    Search for "college student"  = 1.2 billion results 

    Search for politics = 296 million resultsAdvanced search examples show how to select AND to connect multiple search terms

    Search for "college student" AND politics = 43 million results more focused on your topic

    Search for "college student" AND politics AND "2008 election" = 543,000 more relevant results

    Combining search terms with OR will:

    • Expand your search and increase number of results
    • Give your search flexibility to find alternate terms

    Search for film  = 601,786 resultsEBSCO search for movie or film

    Search for movie = 199,781 results 

    Search for film OR movie  = 642,906 results that mention either film or movie, or both

    Search for "middle school" = 21,401 results that mention "middle school"EBSCO search for "middle school" or "junior high"

    Search for "junior high" = 7,261 results

    Search for "middle school" OR "junior high" = 28,177 results that mention either "middle school" or "junior high", or both

    Combining search terms with NOT will:

    • Decrease your search results
    • Increase the relevancy of your results by telling the search to exclude certain terms

    Search for "Hunger Games"  = 745 results Demonstrates the advanced search "Not" feature of EBSCO

    Search for "Hunger Games" NOT movie = 487 results 


    Search for cloning = 42,736 resultsBasic EBSCO search bar: cloning NOT human

    Search for cloning NOT human = 30,325 results

    Search engines attempt to match your terms to the items it searches (titles, authors, abstracts, description fields, full text, etc).

    However, search engines do NOT understand phrases, sentences, or questions. So when it does this matching, it searches for each term indivdiually. Some searches attempt to find terms in proximity to each other, but this varies depending on where you search.

    Quotation marks to the rescue

    If your search terms are more than single worlds, employ quotation marks to show the search engine that you want the terms to be found together. The search will look for exactly what you place in the quotation marks, so be sure there are no mistakes.

    Search for Adam Smith = 38,700,000 results

    Search for "Adam Smith" = 2,730,000 results

    Search for theory of relativity = 3,430,000 results

    Search for "theory of relativity" = 856,000 results


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    Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
    Science Library: 317-940-9937
    CAT: 317-940-8575

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