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.)
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.