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Wellesley College Research Guides

ENG 120: Critical Interpretation


This guide provides some useful starting places for your research. I'm happy to meet with you to help with any part of the research process, from finding and evaluating sources to understanding how to cite them. Feel free to make an appointment with me.

Karen​ Storz, Research & Instruction Librarian

Image: Winslow Homer. The New Novel. 1877. ArtSTOR.

Databases for Scholarly Literary Criticism & History

Databases can contain a combination of full-text (ready to read online) and citation information that can lead you to articles, book chapters, or books. It's always a good idea to search in more than one database. Even if there is considerable overlap in content, the different search capabilities and features of each database can help you find different sources. 

General Search Tips

  • Use related terms and truncation * to find the different ways your topic might be expressed
  • Combine multiple concepts using AND / OR for best results
  • Use quotation marks to search words as a phrase  


Sample topic: Cultural identity in the poetry of Li-Young Lee

(identity OR self) AND (cultur* OR ethnic* OR immigra* OR "Asian American") AND Li-Young Lee AND poetry

See the Search Tips & Tutorials page of this guide for more.

MLA Search Tips

When you search in the MLA International Bibliography database, you're searching a small amount of information about each source, rather than the source itself. Trying a variety of keywords is often essential to getting the best results in MLA. Make note of relevant keywords and subject terms that come up in your initial searches, and use those terms to find more. The MLA Thesaurus, linked at the top of the search screen, can also be helpful for identifying search terms.

Look at the Subjects that come up under the citations. They can provide you with additional ideas for search terms.

LION Search Tips

To focus a search in LION, you can use the drop-down menu to search for a term in certain fields, such as SUBJECT.

  • A search for august wilson "Anywhere" will find results that have august wilson anywhere in the text, even ad a passing mention.
  • A search for august wilson in the SUBECT field will show you only results in which August Wilson is a substantial focus of each article or book.
  • Using MAINSUBJECT will show you only results in which August Wilson is the main focus of each result.


Find Books & Ebooks

Borrowing from Elsewhere

owl mailCan't find what you're looking for at Wellesley?

Use WorldCat Discovery to search and request directly from libraries worldwide via Interlibrary Loan.

Questions? Interlibrary Loan Guide


ILL During the Renovation

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) services will continue to be available for print books, ebooks, chapters, and articles.  If you only need a chapter or two from a book, place a book chapter request and we'll try to get them electronically.   Requesting an item through ILL will be more efficient than recalling an item from storage; however, if we are unable to locate an item through ILL, we will pursue other means.   

Where do I pick up & return my ILL requests during the renovation?

Pickups: Modulars, Room 103

Returns: Modulars, Room 103, Blue Library Book Drop outside the Modulars or the Art or Music Libraries

Service Desk Hours

How do I Make Requests?

For Loan requests, search the Library Catalog, WorldCat, or SuperSearch and look for one of the following links to place your ILL request.  If we already own an item, but it is in off-site storage or checked out, you can still select “Request from another library (InterLibrary Loan)”. 

Renovation Website