Beginning Research on Topics in Classical Studies
a guide prepared by
Dr. Jacqueline Long
Department of Classical Studies
So you've got an idea, or an assignment. But maybe a vague idea is all
you've got. You need more information about your topic before you can
begin to define a problem your research will address. Or maybe you've
got some more specific target in mind, but you need more background.
Where to start?
Helpful Targeted Resources (edited by scholars in the field) available for Classical Studies at Loyola
- L'Annee philologique, Editorial
Director Pedro Pablo Fuentes Gonzalez (Brepols Publishers for the Societe Internationale de Bibliographie
- specialized international bibliographic database of scholarly works relating to all aspects of
ancient Greek and Roman civilizations; print copy physically available in Cudahy Reference, Z 7016 .M35 A2
New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider, Classical
Tradition volumes edited by Manfred Landfester (Brill, 2010)
- good, well-grounded scholarly overviews of Classical topics and areas of study,
large and small, with supporting bibliography. The Antiquity volumes cover Classical culture
in its breadth from Aegean prehistory through the formation of early medieval Europe in
west and east, the Classical Tradition volumes cover the reception of Classical culture
Oxford Classical Dictionary, Simon Hornblower and Antony
Spawforth, eds., 4th edn. rev. (2012)
- good overviews of most of the larger topics a Classical scholar
could probably imagine as of the late 20th century, and very many
smaller topics also; with bibliography for the most important places
to turn next
Bibliographies Online: Classics, Dee Clayman, editor in chief (2011-)
- annotated bibliographies on many topics, compiled by leading scholars in the relevant fields
- The Cambridge Ancient History, John Boardman et al.,
eds., 2nd edn. (1982-): Cudahy Reference, D 57 .C252 1982
- articles on all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman history,
in many volumes and an ongoing project of revision and updating;
references to other important discussions in footnotes
- A cautionary note: No "dictionary" or "encyclopedia" is ever a sufficient
resource for serious academic research all by itself - not even the good ones listed here, and
especially not Wikipedia, where not all articles can be trusted to have gotten reliable verification
before being published. The best ones, however, identify their sources and thereby point you to
the evidence and the arguments you want to be considering further, for yourself. Don't hide your
use of such resources - but verify their information.
- Jane Currie, Loyola's Bibliographer in Classical Studies, has
prepared a Library Guide
as a useful gateway to on-line and some print resources for Classical
Studies. Note that many classical journals and reference works are not covered
by on-line indexes: you will need print by the time you get into the research itself.
- Pegasus, Loyola's on-line
catalogue, can help you find whether Loyola Libraries own books you
want to use, or journals in which scholarly articles are printed. If
not, Interlibrary Loan or other requests
(see the links under "services" in the column on the left of the page) can help
you to get hold of resources you need.
Taking it further, or unsnagging difficulties:
Exploiting Secondary Sources You Have Already Identified
- Of course, there's the content the secondary work offers. But also:
- Does it list a bibliography? See whether other works listed there
also relate to your topic, and look for them.
- Footnotes or endnotes in a scholarly work will refer you to
resources especially relevant to topics immediately under discussion, both primary sources
containing the evidence on which discussion needs to be based and other secondary studies
with which the author agrees or disagrees.
- Follow up related topics with a quick investigation: sometimes their different angle
on the source-material or on a different but connected problem will suggest new insights.
- In the library stacks, take a quick look at books near the books you identify as definitely of interest
to you: they're likely to address related questions.
Help in Need
- Your instructor has a vested interest in seeing you get the most
out of your project possible. Your instructor will be able to be most helpful if
you come with groundwork of research laid, and questions outlined
for what you want to know next.
- Librarians can help with many questions; ask at the Help desk.
- For basic principles and definitions, see the subsection on
Academic Standards and Regulations.
The College of Arts and Sciences
endorses and upholds this
policy, as does the Department of Classical
The very helpful Harvard Guide to Using Sources
comprehensively discusses the use of sources in college-level academic work, including how to avoid plagiarism.
- Loyola University requires that all instances of academic dishonesty must be reported to the
chairperson of the department involved and to the academic Dean of the student's College.
- Learning is wholly personal: it only happens if you do it yourself. Your University
record should be certifying only what has really happened.
- Please consult your instructor if you have any questions.
Writing the Paper
- Pulling your research together, making an argument, and advancing
your argument persuasively:
- Dr. Long's
Guide to Writing Papers
- Loyola Libraries'
Doing Academic Research.
Note especially the tab "Evaluate Sources"! And although you don't necessarily have to use RefWorks,
you do have to provide citations via footnotes and bibliography for secondary sources to which you
refer in preparing your work, as well as specific passage-references for the primary sources you are
- Seeking help:
- Your instructor
- Academic Advising & Support Services, Sullivan Center,
Suite 260, 6339 Sheridan Rd., LSC; 773-508-7714,
- Center for Student Assistance and Advocacy: offers support,
coordinated case-management, and referrals to appropriate resources for student concerns across the
University. The website can direct students and members of faculty and staff to pertinent explanations
and resources, including online reporting-forms for first, second, or third parties. Coverage includes severally
- academic concerns
- behavioral concerns
- equity & Title IX concerns
- personal concerns
- student conflict & conduct concerns
- general student concerns
- BUT, in any case of crisis or imminent harm call Campus Safety first, 773-508-6039
- Tutoring Center, Sullivan
Center Room 245, LSC; 773-508-7708; email@example.com
- University Libraries: Cudahy Library, LSC: IC 773-508-8000,
Circulation 773-508-2632, Reference Desk 773-508-2654; Lewis Library, 25 E Pearson, WTC, Circulation
312-915-6622, Reference Desk 312-915-6631; Ask a
- Writing Program and
Writing Center, Loyola Hall, LSC, 773-508-8468,
Revised 3 March 2022 by