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How do I conduct literary research?

Using library databases to find literary criticism

How to search EBSCO

Step 1:

Use the Find Articles search box on the library's home page to search select databases from EBSCO, our largest multi-disciplinary database, or click on the direct link above the search box.

Step 2:

EBSCO searches every word of every article, so be very specific with your search terms. For best results, use concrete nouns and Boolean operators like AND, OR, or NOT. Below is a good example.

Find articles search box

Step 3:

Read the abstract for a summary of the article and pay attention to the subjects. The subjects tell you what the article is actually about and can be helpful if you need alternative search terms.

Step 4:

To narrow your results, add additional search terms and/or use the Limit To options. Be sure to pay attention to the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals option if your assignment requires it. You may also just want to limit to full text so you can always read the entire article immediately.

Step 5:

To get to the article, click its title.   If you need to share the article, use the permalink option. This will provide you a stable URL so that you can come back to the article. The option is located on the right side of the screen, under Tools.



  • EBSCO is not the best for literature; try these literature databases instead.
  • If you clicked on the direct link, click Select/deselect all and then Continue.
  • Some articles are not available through EBSCO to read immediately. If you see LincIT then you can click to see if the article is available in another database.
  • To cite your article, use the Citation Styles Playbook.

How do I search EBSCO? Video