Theatre and Drama 327: Playscript Analysis

Background Information: Research Guides, Historical Context, Literary Studies, and Theater Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Reviews of Productions | Finding Books | Finding Articles | Web Resources
Style Manuals | About Research in Playscript Analysis | Definitions of Terms and Abbreviations

Background Information

Research Guides

A Guide to Reference and Bibliography for Theatre Research. Claudia Jean Bailey.
Ref. Z5781 .L87

Research Guide to Biography and Criticism : World Drama. Walton Beacham, ed.
Ref. PR85 .R47 1985 v.3

Historical Context

Chronology of World History : A Calendar of Principal Events from 3000 BC to AD 1973. G. S. P. Freeman-Grenville.
Ref. D11 .F75 1975

An Encyclopedia of World History : Ancient, Medieval and Modern, Chronologically Arranged. William L. Langer, compiler and ed.
Ref. D21 .L27 1980

The People's Chronology : a Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present. James Trager.
Ref. D11 .T83 1994

The Timetables of History : A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Bernard Grun.
Ref. D11 .G78 1991

Who Was When? : A Dictionary of Contemporaries. Miriam Allen de Ford and Joan S. Jackson.
Ref. CT103 .D4 1976

What historians call primary source material will provide you with even more information on context. It's not always easy to say what is a primary source; be sure to check with your professor and discuss just what might be considered primary source material for the purpose of your research. Generally, primary source materials are considered to be those things--speeches, articles, diaries, news reports--produced at the time of the events you are investigating. The material produced after the fact to explain or explore an event is generally referred to as secondary source material.

In addition to the strategies listed below, consider looking at biographical material; see the library guide for Biographical Information for more details.

Primary material from books: One way to locate primary materials is to run a keyword search and include any of the following terms with the label su. Try the following:

Primary material from articles:

Essay and General Literature Index. 1900 - present.
Indexes essays and articles in collections, anthologies, etc.
Reference Indexes and FirstSearch 1985-

International Index. 1907-1965.
Indexes articles from scholarly journals. Title changed to Social Sciences and Humanities Index.
Reference Indexes

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. 1900-present.
Indexes articles from popular magazines.
Reference Indexes and FirstSearch 1983-

Social Sciences and Humanities Index. 1966-1974.
The later title of the International Index. Lives on today as the separate titles Humanities Index and Social Sciences Index. (see below under Articles.)
Reference Indexes

Newspapers: see also the section of this guide on Reviews of Productions.

New York Times. 1851-current.
Considered to be the American paper of record. The New York Times is on microfilm in the reference area.
New York Times Index--Reference Indexes

Times (London, England). 1941-current.
The leading British paper. The Times itself is held on microfilm in the reference area.
Times index--Reference Indexes

Literary Studies

Benét's Reader's Encyclopedia. Bruce Murphy, ed.
Ref. PN41 .B4 1996

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Ivor H. Evans.
Ref. PN43 .B65 1981

Contemporary Authors
A major source on over 110,000 authors. Searchable by Author Name , Title of Work, Birth or Death Year, Nationality, and Subject/Genre, just to name a few possibilities.

The Harper Handbook to Literature. Northrop Frye, Sheridan Baker, George Perkins ; with a chronology of literature and world events by Barbara M. Perkins.
Ref. PN41 .F75 1985

Masterplots. Frank N. Magill, ed.
Ref. PN44 .M33 1976   12 vols.
Ref. PN44 .M33 1996   Expanded and updated version of the 1976 rev. ed. 12 vols.

Theater Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

The Book of 1000 Plays. Compiled and edited by Steve Fletcher and Norman Jopling with contributions from David Hallam ... [et al.].
Ref. PN6112.5 .F54 1989

The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Martin Banham, ed.
Ref. PN2035 .C27 1995

The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre. Colin Chambers, ed.
Ref. PN2035 .C65 2002

Critical Survey of Drama : English Language Series. Frank N. Magill, ed. 6 vols. and supplement.
Ref. PR623 .C75 1985 v. 1-6 and Ref. PR623 .C75 1987

The Crown Guide to the World's Great Plays, from Ancient Greece to Modern Times. Joseph T. Shipley.
Ref. PN6112.5 .S45 1984

Dictionary of the Theatre: Terms, Concepts, and Analysis.
Ref. PN 2035 .P2913 1998

Drama A to Z. Jack A. Vaughn.
Ref. PN1625 .V3

Drama Dictionary. Terry Hodgson.
Ref. PN1625 .H62 1988

The Facts on File Dictionary of the Theatre. William Packard, David Pickering, Charlotte Savidge, eds.
Ref. PN2035 .F27 1988

Masterplots II. Drama Series. 4 vols.
Ref. PN44 .M33 1990

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama. 5 vols.
Ref. PN1625 .M3 1984

Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Phyllis Hartnoll, ed. 4th ed.
Ref. PN2035 .H3 1983

Theatre Language; A Dictionary of Terms in English of the Drama and Stage from Medieval to Modern Times. Walter Parker Bowman and Robert Hamilton Ball.
Ref. PN2035 .B6

Reviews of Productions

In addition to the sources listed here, be sure to look at the section of this guide on Articles. National newspapers such as the New York Times are excellent sources for reviews, as are the popular periodicals listed in Poole's Index to Periodical Literature and Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. Also, be sure to search the library's online catalog for the author's name (last name first) as a Subject; you will find criticism and interpretation of the author's works.

A Guide to Critical Reviews. James M. Salem.
Ref. Z5782 .S34 vol. 3-4
Ref. Z5782 .S342 vol. 2-3
Ref. Z5782 .S342 1984 vol.1-2
Ref. Z5782 .S34 v.4 Suppl. 1963-80

Lexis/Nexis Academic: Guided News Search
Various dates; the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times have indexing back to 1980, with full text added at later dates. Other papers are added dating mostly from the mid 1990's.

New York Theatre Critics Reviews. Microfilm, 1940-1957
New York Theatre Critics Reviews. Bound, 1970-1994
National Theatre Critics Reviews. Bound, 1995-1996
The library owns scattered issues of these publications, in print and on microfilm. Publication ceased in 1996.
Microform Area
Periodicals Level A

New York Times. 1851-current.
The New York Times is on microfilm for all years in reference; 1990-near current are indexed and available in full text on CD-ROM in the microform reading room.
New York Times--Microforms
New York Times Index--Reference Indexes and Microforms

Theatre : Stage to Screen to Television. William Torbert Leonard.
More Theatre : Stage to Screen to Television. Alvin H. Marill.
Theatre--Ref. PN2189 .L44
More Theatre--Ref. PN2189 .L44 1993

Times (London, England). 1941-current.
The leading British paper. The Times itself is held on microfilm near the Reference offices.
Times index--Reference Indexes

UMI ProQuest
Indexing and some full text for international English-language, national, and regional newspapers.

The World Wide Web is another good source of reviews, especially for smaller companies whose productions might not be reviewed in the larger newspapers. See the information below on Web Resources and the library's page on Searching the Internet for more help.


Finding Books

You can search LUCIA, the library's online catalog, in either a command line or Telnet format or a Web format. There are slight differences between searching the two versions of the catalog, but both interfaces search the same database.

To find books in LUCIA, the library's online catalog, try title, author, subject, or keyword searching.

Title searches will let you see if we own an item whose title you already know.

You can search the name of a playwright as an author to find works by the person named. Be sure to enter the last name first.

Search the name of a writer as a subject to find works about the person's life and plays. Be sure to enter the last name first. In subject searching, you can also look for terms like drama. You will be referred to more subject headings. Be specific; there's a lot out there on drama. You can also use the Library of Congress Subject Headings for ideas on subject search terms; the five volume LCSH in print is located behind the Reference Desk on the library's first floor. Read the introduction to learn more about the LCSH subject authority system.

In keyword searching, LUCIA will look for the terms you specify anywhere in the important areas of the cataloging records, and display a list of those records. Try a search for the phrase stage history. You might want to try searching for some of the terms you find in the LCSH, or try targeting your keyword search by telling LUCIA to look for the terms in the subject area of the records. Compare a keyword search for terms the terms (theater or theatre) and history with a keyword search for (su theater or su theatre) and su history.

Books are arranged on the library's shelves by Library of Congress Classification. This is a system which organizes materials by general subjects. Once you have a call number from searching LUCIA, see this guide to call number locations at Mudd to find out where a book might be on the shelves.

Search LUCIA for materials in our library; try WISCAT or WorldCat to find materials beyond the Mudd. Make sure you've thoroughly searched our library before going to WISCAT or WorldCat. See a reference librarian if you need help.


Finding Articles

The best index to use will depend on your topic. Be sure to check the Electronic Resources page for other options. Two of our resources, JSTOR and Project MUSE provide complete full text. Some of our indexes include:

A single Web source for multiple databases. Contains broad and specialized coverage of academic and general periodicals. Includes some full text of articles. Use the GO button on your browser after exiting EBSCOhost to leave the system.

Expanded Academic ASAP.
Broad coverage of academic periodicals. Includes full text of some articles.

Humanities Index.
Reference Indexes and on FirstSearch (1984- ).

MLA Bibliography. 1963-
The leading source for the field of literary studies. Wide ranging index to just about anything of a scholarly nature related to literature and language.

Once you have a citation for an article on your topic, look in LUCIA for the title of the journal to see if the library owns it. You should also search BESS, an automated search of the library's fulltext databases, for electronic copies of articles.


Web Resources
"The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings."

Internet Resources for Theatre and Drama
Links selected by the librarians of Mudd.

Lawrence University: Theatre and Drama Department
The official site.

Of course, there are many more web resources available that might be useful in your research. You might want to try looking at sources that select the best of the Web, like these:

For brief background information on how to use some of the many available Internet search engines, see Selected Search Tools for the WWW. The introduction explains a little bit about how search tools work, and offers some caveats about searching. You might also want to take a look at the page for More Information on Searching and the Summary Chart.

It's important to think carefully about any information you find in any format, and to evaluate resources for their accuracy, applicability, and so forth. Evaluation of web resources is especially important. You may want to consult this guide to Evaluating Internet Resources, or this bibliography on Evaluation of Information Sources. You can often learn a lot about a page (and a site) by parsing the URL.


Style Manuals
Academic Citation and Writing
Style manuals of the humanities, physical sciences, and the social sciences in the Seeley G. Mudd Library.

Citing Electronic Documents
This page provides guidance on citing electronic documents and links to other guides, some on specific styles of documentation.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
The guide for any academic papers written in the literatures and languages.
RRef. LB2369 .G53 1999

About Research in Playscript Analysis

Remember that there are two acceptable English spellings, theatre and theater and that you may need to keep an eye out for both terms in your research. Material related to the topic of this course will be drawn from many fields: be prepared to look at materials from fields like history, gender studies, literature, just to name a few. In addition to consulting catalogs and indexes, be sure to look at bibliographies supplied at the end of relevant articles, chapters, and books, and to search library catalogs for book-length bibliographies.

Your sources must be fully documented in any written work you produce. It may help to look at the information on style before you start your research, so that you will have all the required documentation at hand when you need it. Then as you write, go back to the resources on style for details on the exact format of your citations.

The sources listed in this guide were chosen for the broad coverage they provide. Direct links are provided to Internet resources and searchable databases, as well as links to LUCIA, the library's online catalog. Be sure to check the library's Electronic Resources page regularly to see new databases and indexes; some of these will only be available to users on the Lawrence campus. Also, you may want to take a look at guides on related topics from the Library Research Guides page.

Evaluating the resources you find is an essential part of the research process. See this guide to hints on evaluation of books and articles and this guide to evaluating Internet resources.

As always, if you have any questions be sure to ask a Reference Librarian.


Definitions of terms and abbreviations:

Ref. = Reference collection, first floor
RRef.= Ready reference, shelves behind the reference desk
Periodicals = Current issues; Level A
Periodical Back Files = Level A
GovDoc = U.S. Government Documents, second floor
Reference Indexes = Alphabetically arranged at the end of the reference collection
Microform Area = Reading room east of the reference desk, near microform drawers
q. = Oversized books: interfiled in reference; at end of classes in other collections


Created: 11-December-1998
Revised: 16-October-2002
Gretchen Revie, Reference Librarian
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