Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

English 111: Introduction to Literature: Tips for searching

Resource guide for course taught by Nancy Kennedy

Finding an academic journal

Here is an example of how to search for a journal in the database, Academic Search Premier.  The steps in ProQuest are similar except you can only search by title.

Keyword searching in a database

When searching a periodical database, like ProQuest or Academic Search Premier, your goal is to get a reasonable number (around 50) of highly relevant articles.  To do this, use keywords (alone and together) to describe the type of information you are looking for.

► To find biographical information on an author, type the author's name in the search box and add the word biography. 

     Example: fitzgerald AND biography

► To find criticisms of an author's work in the library databases, type the author's name or the name of the work and the word criticism in the search box and/or name the theory

     Example: de maupassant AND criticism
                      "joy luck club" AND criticism
                      alexie AND multicultural*

•  To find information on themes and theories, use the word for the theory you are researching and combine it with another word. 

     Example: formal* AND literature 

(The * after the word, form*l, is called truncation.  Using this tells the database to find articles that have various endings to formal, such as formalist and formalism.)

Focusing your search

Other ways to focus your searches:

 

√  Check the box that will limit your results to academic journals only

√ Check the box that will limit your results to full-text articles only

√  Define a date range (for example: 2000 to 2009)

√  Use their "Suggested Topics" or "Find More Like This" feature

For more help and suggestions, contact your librarian.