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Prof. Courage: ENG102 - Essay #2: Search Strategy

This guide is for students in ENG102 with Prof. Courage who are working on Essay #2.

Develop a Search Strategy

]Write down some of the themes in the works you have read and any ideas of historical context (if that is where you want to go in your essay) from the literary criticisms. You may want to look at some author biographies too if you are still not sure.

Ex: Kate Chopin "The Awakening" (1899)

Literary Themes: Independence, Selfhood, Empowerment, Social Norms, Autonomy

Historical Context: Women's Movement, Right to Vote, Feminism


These are the keywords that you might want to use when searching the databases, you may have to try several searches before you find best articles on your topic.


Think of new Keywords that are related to your Keywords.

Right to Vote; Suffrage; 19th Amendment

Feminism: First Wave Feminism; Equality


If you have too many results on your topic add "United States" as a keyword to limit to articles about e.g. the Women's Suffrage Movement in the U.S. only.

Search "World War 1939-1945" instead of "World War 2" or "World War II"


Try different Keyword combinations when searching.


Use AND to link terms together and narrow your search:

Women AND Marriage


Use OR to link terms together and broaden your search:

Marriage OR Motherhood AND Social Norms


Use * (truncation) to search for different forms of a word:

Suffrag* searches for Suffrage, Suffragists, Suffragette and Suffragettes


Use Quotation Marks to keep Phrases together:

"Harlem Renaissance"



Search for Literary Criticism

The Library subscribes to several literature databases that make finding critical articles fairly easy.

Search by the Author Name: Lastname, Firstname or the "Title of the Work" (in quotes).


Choose articles listed as Literary Criticism - not Work Overview, Book Review, Essay or Summary.


Author Biographies can be helpful if you are not sure of the historical background when the author was writing and give you ideas on what to search for.

Poems and Short Stories are usually analyzed in groups around a theme or author, you will most likely not find articles about an individual poem or short story unless it is very well known.


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