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Hope Library Guides

ENGL 281: American Literature: Articles/Databases

Recommended Databases

MLA Searching Options

Don't forget to utilize the different ways of searching MLA Bibliography!


Tips for Jstor

Jstor is an excellent full text archive of humanities, social science and business journals and includes a large number of history journals.

  • This is not an exhaustive collection, and it will not contain things published within the last 4 years.  
  • Remember, because you are searching the full text of the article, choose your keywords carefully to avoid getting irrelevant articles.  A plus side of this is JSTOR is good for searching for more obscure referenes to a topic.
  • To limit your searches further, select specific disciplines from the limiting list.

jstor subjects

  • To further control your search, use special search characters to increase the presence of certain important terms:
  • ^# after a word will request that that particular word be present a minimum of # number of times in the article (ex. irish^10 AND soldier^10)
  • ~# after two words in quotes will ask that those word be within # words of each other.  (ex.  "women* suffrage"~5)

Research tips

Brainstorm different search terms that relate to your topic (try to think of broader concepts that relate to your topic, and more specific concepts that relate to your topic; surround your topic!)


Don't forge to try multiple searches using different combinations of search terms


Try to get an understanding of the scholarly conversation about your work that has already occurred, then figure out how you can add to that scholarly conversation.


Keep a record of what search terms you use, and keep track of each source you are considering using. Keeping your research organized will save you time and effort!