The most effective way to find sources can vary by database and source type. But don't worry, we've broken it down for you step by step to make it easier.
Click on the links below or scroll down for instructions on how to find each source type.
Keep in mind that databases label source types differently from one another and from the definitions above. Use your evaluative judgment on which type a source is rather than relying only on how the database categorizes it.
Search the library catalog for books and ebooks. You can try searching by the title of the work of literature, but you may need to search by the author's name to get collections of their work. Once you find the collection, look through the table of contents to find the work you're looking for.
Type the name of the author in the search box and choose the correct author from the list. The biographies will be at the top of the page. If you're doing a biography research project, Biography in Context also includes magazine, news, and journal articles about the author.
Type the name of the author in the search box and make sure to choose the Biography Source type from the top tabs.
When searching for a work overview, type in the title of the work in the search box. If your number of results is overwhelming, try adding one of the following reference series names to the second line - Masterplots, Literary Contexts, or MaGill's.
When searching for a work overview, type in the title of the work in the search box. Then make sure to choose the Topic & Work Overviews Tab at the top. It will default to Literature Criticism when you first hit search.
To find theme overviews in Bloom's, Click on the Literary Themes tab on the right.
Then use the drop down menu to choose a theme.
Head's up! You will likely need to search in more than one database with more than one search strategy to find relevant literary criticism for your project. Because literary criticism contain such deep analysis, they tend to focus on a very specific aspect of a work that may not apply to your thesis or analysis. To save yourself some time, you can search multiple databases at once by starting at Academic Search Complete.
Use the Choose Databases Link above the search box and add Literary Reference Center Plus and Humanities Source to the search list.
Start by searching using the title of the work of literature. The database defaults to the literary criticism source type.
You can try adding your topic, theme, genre, critical lens, etc. on another line in the advanced search or using the Search Within tab of the Filter Your Results area.
Follow the same instructions as Literary Criticism, only make sure to check the peer-reviewed or Scholarly Journal Articles boxes when you are searching. This is not a fool proof method for determining whether an article is peer-reviewed, but it's a start. Editorials and Reviews reflect only the opinion of the author and have not gone through the rigorous process of formal review by other literary scholars. And if you're ever unsure whether a journal is peer-reviewed, you can google the title to find the journal homepage to find out or Ask a Librarian for help!