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English 252: Introduction to Literary Studies (all sections)

Finding Literary Criticism in Databases

For your ENGL 252 research paper, you will be asked to engage with the arguments published in peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and books in the field of English literature. While some of these kinds of publications are available freely to everyone on the Internet, many academic papers can only be accessed through paid subscriptions to databases. You can access many databases through Hunter/CUNY subscriptions by logging in with your Hunter NetID and password.

A list of all databases that can be accessed through Hunter is posted here.

A full list of databases recommended for research in English Language and Literature can be found here.

See below for tips on searching and for more information on a selected list of databases available through Hunter and through the New York Public Library.

Database Searching Tips

Database Searching Tips:

  • Make sure you understand what content you are searching. Is it a database of literary criticism only, or does it include sources from other fields of study? What dates are covered? Is the database limited to only scholarly sources, or does it include non-scholarly sources as well?
  • Brainstorm your keywords. Start with the author's name and the title of the text you're researching. Then add other key terms or phrases related to your research topic, like a character's name or a theme you're interested in. See this page of the ENGL 220 Research Guide for some sample searches in 3 databases.
  • Use the "advanced search" function. This will give you better control of your search and allow you to benefit from the specific features of that database.
  • Use filters to narrow your search. For example, limit your results by the date the source was published, by the language of the source, by the field of study, etc.

What To Do If You're Not Finding Sources on Your Topic:

  • Try different keywords. Searching for synonyms or related terms can help. For instance, if the word "women" isn't working, try "gender," "femininity," "feminine," etc.
  • Try searching elsewhere (try a different database, search with OneSearch, or try Google Scholar)
  • Adjust your research question. You don't need to start over from scratch, but you might benefit from changing your question slightly, based on the existing scholarship you find.
  • Ask for help. Talk to your professor or ask a librarian.

Literary Criticism Databases Available through Hunter

Literary Criticism Database Available through New York Public Library