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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Nixon: ENL330 Short Story Library Research

What Do You Need to Find?

  •  Let's review:
    • Your primary sources of information will be your own thoughts about the craft/elements of fiction as they relate to particular short stories.
    • You will consult Appendix Four, "Writing about Short Stories" (1265-1298) for more ideas.
    • You will study Appendix Five, the "Glossary of Literary Terms" (1299-1307).
    • All of the information in the paper must be your own work. 
    • You are encouraged to consult the Commentary and Casebooks ar the back of the textbook for assistance on your reading, interpretation of the short stories, quizzes, short papers, and exam.
    • Finally, you might find "outside readings" to support your analysis.
  • This LibGuide will show how to find "outside readings," that is critical analyses about short stories in the Berry Library databases.

Develop a Search Strategy for Finding Literary Criticisms of a Short Story

  • The name of your story will be your first topic.
    • Put it in "quotation marks" to keep the entire title together when searching in the databases.
  • Add the term for the craft/elements of fiction you have selected: characters, setting, imagery, theme, etc.
  • You might also add a third term, like "criticism," although this may not be necessary. 
    • Articles covering the craft/elements of fiction for your story would most likely be criticisms.
  • The use of "AND" between topics tells the database to conduct a "Boolean AND" search. 
    • A Boolean search increases the precision of your database search.
    • Articles must have both terms.


  • "The Rocking Horse Winner"   AND themes   AND criticism
  • "The Rocking Horse Winner"   AND setting
  • "The Rocking Horse Winner"   AND  irony


  • Completed Search Template/Worksheet for "The Rocking Horse Winner"

Blank Search Strategy Downloadable Template

  • Right click to open the template and save it to your computer.
  • Mac Users - CTL-click opens the file.