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Library Guide for Graduate Research in English Literary Studies: Criticism / Theory

Welcome to the Library Guide for Research and Bibliography. This guide will be useful for graduate students who are new to the University of Alabama who are unfamiliar with the tools and resources that the University Libraries offers.

Listed on this page are the core resources for literary criticism/theory and literary history. Experiment with sources beyond MLAIB to find the widest range of scholarship.

General Searching Tips

Know Your Sources!

All databases are not the same. The contents differ, but so too do the organization and searching options.

Note the amount and type of searchable text. In JSTOR, you can search the full text of an article; in MLAIB, you can search only the citation and the subject headings. Use these differences to find the kind of information you need:

  • Use the full-text searching in JSTOR to find obscure information buried in a text.
  • Consult the thesaurus in MLAIB to find general terms that will be more inclusive than keywords.
  • Note that LION includes the option of full-text searching, though the database includes only limited full text.

Don't settle for a bad results. Refine the search or adjust the results.

  • Use the sorting options to reorder your results according to date or relevance.
  • Use limits to refine a search that yields too many or irrelevant results.
  • Experiment with different keywords.


Use annual reviews to track broader patterns in the field.

Theoretical Frameworks