Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of Drama. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the Drama books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
|20th Century Plays in Synopsis||Reference||PN6112.5 S68|
|An International Dictionary of Theater Language||Reference||PN2035 .I5 1985|
|Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television||Reference||PN2012 .W51|
|Critical Survey of Drama||Reference||PN1625 .C74 1986|
|Drama Criticism||Reference||PN1625 .D72|
|Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage||Reference||PN2285 Y6 1975b|
|Kabuki Encyclopedia||Reference||PN2924.5 .K3 L44|
|McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama||Reference||PN1625 M3|
|Notable Names in the American Theatre||Reference||PN2285 N6 1976|
|Oxford Companion to American Theatre||Reference||PN2220 .B6 1992|
|Oxford Companion to the Theatre||Reference||PN2035 O9 1993|
|The Book of 1000 Plays||Reference||PN6112.5 .F54 1989|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for Drama:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
- Amateur Theater
- Drama -- History and criticism
- Dramatic criticism
- Ibsen, Henrik, 1828-1906
- Off-Broadway theater
- Pinter, Harold, 1930-
- Theater-- Reviews
- Theater -- Production and direction
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
- PN -- Literature (General)
- PN1600-3307 -- Drama
- PN2000-3307 -- Dramatic representation. The theater
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on Drama using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
Backstage is an online performing arts resource. It includes weekly casting notices for shows in the United States, artists' toolbox and feature articles. Please contact your instructor for the login information.
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- American Theatre: Create, Produce, Promote
Source: Rich Brashear -- This is a large portal site, providing links to information covering all aspects of theatrical production.
- Costume Gallery
Source: Penny E. Dunlap Ladnier -- All facets of costume and its history from textiles through hairstyles are covered at this site, with commercial links to suppliers and designers. Much free information.
- Costume Page
Source: Julie Zetterberg Sardo -- Reference materials and museums on costume, history of costume, instructions on constructing costumes and obtaining ready-made costumes.
- History of Theatre
Source: Tupelo Community Theatre -- An introductory history of the theater, defined here as an art form consisting of works written for the stage and to be performed by actors. Touches on ancient, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Shakespearean, 18th through 20th century, and community theater.
- International Theatre Resources from Artslynx
Source: Professor Finkelstein -- Professor of Theatre Design at James Madison University. -- Artslynx, consisting of curated directories on the web, is especially designed to provide the most efficient navigation to valuable information for the student, scholar, educator, and researcher in the arts.
- Links to Theatre Sites/East Stroudsburg University
Source: Q. Brian Sickels, Department of Theatre, East Stroudsburg University -- Information on theatre, acting, technical aspects of theatre.
- Literary Resources: Theatre and Drama
- Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923
Source: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts -- "Presents a searchable database of 16,000 objects representing archival materials from one of the strongest periods in the [New York Public Library's] Performing Arts Library collections." Includes newspaper clippings, promotional and production photographs, sheet music, publicity posters, lobby cards, moving images and recorded sound.
Source: Playbill.com -- Broadway and theater news as well as jobs and openings and closings.
- The Internet Broadway Database
Source: League of American Theaters and Producers -- "IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) archive is the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today."
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Alyssa Valenti
Last Updated - 22 September 2008