Answered By: Erin McDaniel
Last Updated: May 13, 2015     Views: 68

Hello

Go to our Databases libguide, linked below, and select the Literature tab. The Databases libguide can also be linked from the library homepage in the top, center box, Go Straight to the Good Stuff.

From the Literature tab, you will see several links to databases that are good for researching literary criticism. I'll walk you through the most popular databases.

Select Literary Reference Center from the list. Just enter the title like this, "to kill a mockingbird". Using the quotation marks tells the database to search that exact phrase. It doesn't matter if you use captial letters or not. You can start reviewing the article titles. If you want to narrow down the results, you can either check off the source types you want (essentially reviews are the only source you definitely don't need), expand to see the Subjects on the left (after you click Subject, click the Show More link in blue under the short list) and check the subjects you want included. You can also add to your search phrase, something like "to kill a mockingbird" AND racism. The capitalized AND tells the database to search both parts of the phrase.

Another good database is Literary Sources. That link is also under the Literature tab in the Databases libguide. When you start entering the title into the search bar, you will see suggestions. Click on To Kill a Mockingbird (Novel) and hit search. You will see different types of results. At the top, you will see Literature Criticism (see all 52). Click that to see all the lit crit articles. Under that you will see other headings such as Biography and Overview. You may want to look at those, depending on your paper.

You can also try GVRL Literature eBooks. Once you get to the homepage, scroll down towards the bottom, and look for the book cover called Novels for Students, in the next to last row. Select that, and use the search bar in the Tools box at the top right to search your novel. This is a great source for literary criticism.

Academic Search Complete is another good database. From the search bar on the home page, search "to kill a mockingbird" AND lee. Remember, the quotes tell the database to search that exact title, AND in all caps tells it to search both parts of the search phrase, and adding Lee helps you get results about the novel. There is also a movie, play, etc., so you want articles about the book only.

From the result list, use the limiters on the left to narrow your results. Put a check next to Full Text. Then, click Subject Thesaurus Terms to expand the list of subjects included in the result list. You will get a short list of subjects, 5 or 6, and see a Show More link under the list. Click that link. Check the appropriate subjects. Definitely include the subject criticism and characters and characteristics in literature. If you see other subjects you want to inclulde, check them off as well. Hit the yellow update button when you are finished!

That should get you started. Let us know if you need more sources. I also included a link to our Working with Literature libguide. It explains literary terms, discusses how to write about literature, and has instructions on using all the literature databases. The tabs at the top of the libguide tell you about the content.

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