Finding Lit Crit: EBSCOhost

So, one of the things students have sometimes struggled to find is discussion and analysis of an author’s works by literary critics. In this post, I’ll offer some suggestions for finding literary criticism using EBSCOhost.

First of all, it’s important to remember that “criticism” in this context does not have a negative connotation. It does not mean you’re looking for authors who simply disagreed with the author, or thought the author’s works or ideas were flawed. The word “critic,” used in this sense, is similar to what we mean when we use the phrase “critical thinking.” Critics are presumed to have some level of expertise related to the subject, and are therefore able to effectively analyze and make coherent arguments about the substance, rhetoric, or influence of the work. What you’re looking for when you search for criticism is a smart, informed opinion about how we should think about your author’s work. In the best case scenario, you’ll find several different opinions on the author, all of which can inform yours.

When you’re in college, you’ll find you’re using databases all the time to search for different sorts of articles. EBSCOhost will probably continue to be one of the databases available to you. Click on the link there, and log in using the username and password taped to every computer in the lab. Then click on High School Magazine Collection. It will give you a list of databases to search. You should have the following databases checked for an author study criticism search:

  • Academic Search Elite
  • MAS Ultra – School Edition
  • History Resource Center

Then click “continue.” There are various limitations you can put on a search. For example, you might think to yourself, “I bet there were a lot of articles written about my author right after his/her death.” So you could run a search that limits results to the, say, six-month period from just before to several months after the date of his/her death. You could do a similar search around the date of the 50th anniversary of a notable book’s publication. Et cetera.

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