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Short Story Research Guide

Short stories | Criticism | Databases | Internet | Citing

How do I find short stories?

Short stories can be found in a number of ways. First, try a search for the title of your short story in the Library Catalog. Choose Keyword search and enter the name of it. If that does not work, try looking by author. Perhaps your short story is one of many in a book by that author. To retrieve sources by an author, use the Library Catalog. Choose Author search and enter the last name first.

Sample search for a title
Sample search for an author

If you are unable to locate a copy of the short story in our library, use a specialty index to short stories. For example, "Short Story Index" does not refer to criticism. Rather, it indicates where short stories are published, such as in a book or periodical. Using indexes is a two-step process. Find where it is published, and then find out if the Library owns that source.

How do I find criticism for short stories?

  1. First, try a search in the Library Catalog for books about the author or his or her works.

    Sample search for an author

  2. Second, use our collection of books specifically for short story research.
    The following books are available in the Reference Collection.

    Critical Survey of Short Fiction Ref PN 3321 .C7 1993  
    Reference Guide to Short Fiction Ref PN 3373 .R36 1994  
    Short Stories for Students Ref PN 3373 .S3844  
    Short Story Criticism   Ref PN 3373 .S386

  3. Third, use an index or bibliography to refer to discussion often published in scholarly journals or books about a short story. Usually, the actual critical essay is not listed. Instead, the index lists where you will find the critical essay.

    Essay & General Literature Index Kept on Periodical Index Shelves
    Humanities Index Kept on Periodical Index Shelves
    Literary Criticism Index Ref PN 523 .W4 1984
    Twentieth Century Short Story Explication Ref PN 3373 .W3
    Magill's Bibliography of Literary Criticism Ref PN 523 .M3 1979x

Can I find any criticism online?

  1. First, try the following databases for articles (not web sites) about your author or short story. Remember, library staff can assist you in person, by phone, or online with search strategies. These databases are available on and off-campus. Have your library card handy when accessing the databases from off-campus. You will be asked for your name and library card number before you can search them.

    Expanded Academic ASAP
    One of the largest databases for articles. Full-text (that is, the entire article) from 1980-present.
    Academic Search Premier
    This database gives full-text from 1990-present.
    Literature Resource Center
    Search by title of the short story or the author.
    Essay and General Literature Index
    Online database's index covers 1985 to present. Used for identifying essays in book length collections. Print Index covers 1900 to present.
    Magill's On Literature Plus
    Contains critical analyses and brief plot summaries of the most studied works in the history of literature.

  2. Second, try web sites that have links to criticism sites. If you find others using search engines, question their information. Many of them have been created by amateurs who won't even tell you where they got their "facts". To review and rate all types of web sites, use our checklist of tips to help you.

    Internet Public Library - Online Literary Criticism Collection
    Contains 1043 critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by literary period.
    Literary Resources on the Net
    A searchable collection of links dealing with English and American literature.

Citing Sources

How to cite from Short Story Criticism
How to cite from Short Stories for Students
How to cite a journal article from an online database
How to cite a magazine article from an online database


Updated September 20, 2006
Christine Kickels, Associate Professor and Librarian
(630) 942-2313
kickels@cod.edu

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