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English: finding and using library resources for assignments: 4. Research databases

Online tutorial introducing you to the skills and techniques needed for effective library research



Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.




This resource contains the texts of over 500,000 literary works, plus criticism and reference resources, so you can use it to locate primary texts as well as secondary materials.

See the box below for details of how to search Proquest One Literature.

‚ÄčJSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources. You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.

See the Tutorial activity for more information on how to search JSTOR.

In addition to this, use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos.

JSTOR Understanding Shakespeare

Understanding Shakespeare is a collaborative project between JSTOR Labs and the Folger Shakespeare Library . It’s a research tool that allows students, educators and scholars to use the text of Shakespeare’s plays to quickly navigate into the scholarship written about them—line by line.

Users simply click next to any line of text in a play and relevant articles from the JSTOR archive immediately load.

Explore the collection here.


Here is an example from Richard III


There are 17 articles within JSTOR with reference to the first line of the play

The MLA International Bibliography covers scholarship dealing with the following fields:

  • Literature: from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America
  • Folklore: folk literature, music, art, rituals, and belief systems
  • Language and linguistics: the study of languages from any historical period, including history and theory of linguistics, comparative linguistics, semantics, stylistics, syntax and translation
  • Literary theory and criticism
  • Dramatic arts: film, radio, television and theatre
  • History of printing and publishing
  • Teaching of language, literature, rhetoric and composition at college level (from 1998 onwards)

The most common materials listed are books, book articles and journal articles.

Oxford handbooks contain in-depth articles by experts in the field. 

Browse by subject; choose Literature.

You will then see the articles and books available to you. Refine your search by entering search terms and by narrowing the date range using the left hand menu.

Use the Quick start guide if you need further help using this resource.

Gale Literature contains criticism, literary works (plays, short stories, poems) and biographies of literary figures.

See the box below for more information on how to search this resource.

ProQuest One Literature - Literature Online

It has been designed as the foremost platform for conducting Literary Research and incorporates Literature Online.

It contains 3 million literature citations from thousands of journals, monographs, dissertations, and more than 500,000 primary works – including rare and obscure texts, multiple versions, and non-traditional sources like comics, theatre performances, and author readings. 

Enter your terms into the search box, e.g. romanticism AND byron.

Your results are displayed divided into content type.

For example, if you would like to locate the works of Geoffrey Chaucer.

Select Author Pages option from above the search box

Enter Geoffrey Chaucer in the search box this should give search options as shown below. Select "Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400" or select the Go Directly to option.


The Author Pages provides a short biography of the author, links to the primary texts, recent criticism, criticism over time and reference works. 

For example, you are searching for texts related to war and death that were published between WW1 and WW2.

  • Select Primary Texts from the left hand side tab under
  • Enter war and death in the Key words in text box and search.
  • To restrict to the date range fill in the publication dates on the left hand side as shown below.
  • Enter 1914 in the Publication Date: From box.
  • Enter 1945 in the Publication Date: To box.
  • Click Update

The Texts list of results page will be displayed, listing the author, the title of the work containing the selected words and  the line(s) containing the words.

For example, you are looking for occurrences of the word "jealousy" Literature Online will include old spellings as well for many keyword.

You can see the variants of Jealousy highlighted below:

For example, you are searching for reference material on the works of Scott Fitzgerald.

  • Select: Reference Works
  • Enter Fitzgerald, Scott into the Subject box.
  • Click Search.

The results list will display all relevant materials.

For example, you would like to hear Jayne Cortez reading her own works.

  • Scroll down to the Poets on Screen Collection and select it.
  • Search for Jayne Cortez in the search box.
  • Click on "The Guitars I used to know." You can now watch the video.


Or, you would like to listen to a Shakespearean Play.

  • Scroll down to the Shakespeare Audio Plays Collection and select it.
  • Select Shakespeare Audio Plays.
  • Under browse specific issues select 2003
  • Click on "Loves Labor Lost"

Here you can listen to the full play or select the relevant act.

For example, you are interested in learning more about poet Ezra Pound and hope to locate some of his poems.

  • Select the Author Pages from the search options above the search box.
  • Type in Pound Ezra and this should give option below for Pound, Ezra 1885-1972 and search.
  • Then select the Author page result.
  • At the bottom of the profile, you can access Primary Text, Recent Criticism, Criticism Over Time and Relevant Reference Works.

Gale Literature

You can choose to search across all of the content in Gale Literature using the main search box.

Alternatively, choose which part to search by clicking on the What's Inside link on the toolbar.



This will show you a list of all of the databases that make up Gale Literature. See the following tabs for more information about these.







If you know the name of the person or literary work that you need, you can choose the Person Search or Works Search links on the toolbar:


Modern and historical literary commentary and criticism. The collection includes:

  • Children's Literature Review
  • Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism
  • Drama Criticism
  • Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800
  • Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism
  • Poetry Criticism
  • Shakespearean Criticism
  • Short Story Criticism
  • Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism



Browse criticism collated into topic areas such as health, feminism, literary movements, censorship, folklore and many more. 

Here you can find introductions to the topics, explore relevant critical essays and articles, and link through to related topics, themes, works and authors.






Biographies, overviews, full-text criticisms, audio interviews, and reviews on writers from all eras.

Access literary works and authors throughout history, including full-text poems, plays, short stories and speeches.



You can also choose Works Search from the toolbar on the main page of Gale Literature.

Use the following resources to find out about authors and influential literary figures.


Biographies and bibliographies of thousands of U.S. and international authors.



Explore the lives, works, and careers of the world's most influential literary figures from all eras and genres.



Browse original scholarly essays on authors from around the world. 



Examine the lives and works of children and young adult authors and illustrators.



In-depth critical introductions to the lives and works of major writers. Includes influences of literary movements.


You can also choose Person Search from the toolbar on the main Gale Literature page:

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