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Be sure that you are using the ADVANCED search screen.
Remember that you are NOT searching the full text of articles, but are searching a short record like this one:
You will initially be looking for what has been written about a specific literary work, so you should have the name of the literary work in quotes in the first box and the last name of the author in the box below it. Change the drop down boxes to the right to read Subject heading.
It is tempting to change the boxes on the right to Author and Document Title or Publication Title. DO NOT NOT NOT DO THIS!!!!!!! Those labels are reserved for the titles and authors of the critical materials (articles, dissertations, book chapters) in MLA, NOT for the literary work about which you are seeking criticism.
There are a great many interesting, but difficult to obtain, types of materials in MLA. To make your life easier, for academic assignments start by limiting to Peer-Reviewed, Journal Articles in English and see if that will provide you with what you need. If not, you can expand your search later.
For Journal Articles in English, on the results list use the "Check Availability" link to see if we have access to that article.
Some articles are available right away, some are only available in paper on our shelves, and some must be interlibrary-loaned
If you have too many results, look at the list of subjects in "good" results records and choose additional terms to add to your search
If you have too few results, you can either:
search just for the author, but don't include the name of the work in the search.
or you can uncheck the Journal Articles and Peer-Reviewed boxes. Be aware that the "check availability" link will not provide correct results for non-articles. If you have a book chapter, you must manually check our catalog (BearCat) to see if we have that book.
Remember to leave enough time for Interlibrary Loan!