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LIT 2000: Intro to Literature

Research resources for Intro to Literature

Hi there!

I am Britt McGowan, the librarian for the English Dept.  This guide is to help you find resources for your Intro to Lit class.

Though most of you will not become English majors, you may find the skills you use to research in this class apply to other classes.  So, consider this an intro into using discipline-specific resources.  While you may be used to using OneSearch (our database that searches multiple databases at once) and our Catalog (to find books), you may find subject databases are a "new animal" altogether.  I hope this guide helps you.

If you need more assistance, however, I am available for a chat, email question, phone call, or an appt. My contact info is on the left. Don't hesitate to use it! :)

Search Strategies for Finding Literary Criticism

1. Search the author's name as an anywhere/keyword search.

  • This will bring up books and articles about them.
    • Example: Andy Weir, Weir, Andy

2.  If the work you are researching is famous and well-known, add the title of the novel, short story, or poem. 

  • This will bring up books and articles about them.
  • You may place the title in quotation marks in order to keep the phrase together
    • Example: Weir "The Martian"
  • If there are not many sources about a particular work, don't fret! Sometimes works about the author's writing can be applied to the work you are writing about. It is rare to find a whole article about one poem, for example.

3. Narrow your search.

  • You may find it helpful to narrow your search using a database's subject headings. A commonly used phrase for finding literary criticism is "criticism and interpretation" and "history and criticism."

4. Think beyond your work.

  • If little is written about your work, think about the approach you want to take and search for it.
    • Examples:
      • "science fiction" mars survival
      • "science fiction" gender space


  • Sometimes book chapters are not listed in our catalog; however, it is quite possible that a book has a chapter/essay that deals with the work you have read.  Once you find the call number of one book about your author, go upstairs and look around.  The books beside it will be about your author, and the table of contents and index will tell you if your work is mentioned.



You may not find a book or article that is directly about a poem or short story or one that directly supports your thesis statement. THAT IS OKAY! You may apply what an article or book says about another of the authors' works to your work (if it relates) or find a broader article about your theme, e.g. feminism in literature.  Or, perhaps a portion of the article has to do with your thesis statement.