Library Research Guide
Starting a critical analysis of an author, work, or genre? Not sure how to start or feeling overwhelmed by the articles you do find? Save time by getting an overview of what literary criticism already exists on your topic.
Yes, you can use Wikipedia as a starting point, but when you need direction on academic sources, information on this page will help you:
Visit the pages on this guide for Academic Articles, Books, and Cultural Context to continue your research.
Need a quick overview of a work's themes or the author's background? Trying to understand the ideas discussed in the literary criticism you have found? Start your research with major reference sources for literary studies like the Dictionary of Literary Biography and Masterplots. These works, and others like them, are found in the databases Literary Reference Center and Literature Resource Center.
Refer to these databases to learn:
These sources cannot take the place of reading a work or literary criticism published in books and academic journal articles. They can provide terms and keywords for further research. Take note of subject terms, adjectives, genres, and themes discussed.
Both databases offer options to focus your search or filter your search results.
Use the dropdown menu on the Advanced Search screen for options to tell the database where to search for your keywords. This helps eliminate articles that only mention an author, work, or character in passing.
Both databases offer options to filter your search results by source type or content type. Explore the search results page to limit the types of sources shown.
To find books about a work or an author, instead of a copy of the original work try:
1. Click on the Advanced Search button from the Search It box on K-State Libraries' home page.
2. Click the K-State Libraries Only tab
3. Using the drop down options, change Any to in subject
4. Enter the work title or author's name in the search box
Guides, companions, and encyclopedias offer an in-depth entry point to studying literature. These works are often written for students or a researcher exploring new content and provide a window into the existing scholarship, including theory and criticism.
Didn't find what you need? Try:
2. Broaden your search to a term that would include your author/work/movement.
For instance, information about Colette could appear in works about French authors, the Belle Époque period, and twentieth century women authors.
Trying to visualize the publication history of an author (including works about the author)? WorldCat Identities is a good starting point. When the information is available, publication in anthologies and other collections is provided too.
Use WorldCat Identities to: