ENG101: Researching Literature (Prof. Grant)

Use this guide to research short stories and themes for Prof. Grant's ENG101 assignment.

Research Instruction: Library Homepage and ENG101

Review database searching techniques:

Article Databases To Try

Best Databases for Each Story: 

  • For "Sonny's Blues" use Proquest Central
  • For "There Come Soft Rains" use Proquest Central and Gale Virtual Resource Center
  • For "Cannibalism in the Cars" use Proquest Central
  • For "An Alcoholic Case" use Proquest Central
  • For "The Wives of the Dead" use Proquest Central, JSTOR, and Academic OneFile
  • For "Rip Van Winkle" use Proquest Central and JSTOR. 
  • Use the searches to the left in these databases.
  • Click "Scholarly Journals" and "Full text".

Search Help

Review these tips so your database searches find good results. Ask a librarian for help at any point!

Database Searching

Choosing the keywords you use to search for resources is one of the first big hurdles to doing a research project.

Tips for choosing search terms, or keywords (in general):

  • Use as many synonyms for your topic as you can think of until you find the one the gets the most/best results
  • Keep track of the terms and term combinations you've tried already
  • Let materials you've already found help you:
    • check out the Subject Terms associated with that article for keywords to try; also keep track of terms for your topic you learn from reading the resource. 


Tips for choosing search terms, or keywords (for this assignment):

  • Search for the title of your story paired with themes or elements from the story you're interested in 
    • ex. "The Wives of the Dead" AND survival 
    • ex. "Cannibalism in the Cars" AND "humor"
  • Not getting many results? Take away all but the most important key term (usually the story's title) and search again.
  • Use the Subject dropdown located on the left hand margin in most databases to guide you.
  • Still not getting many results? Try searching for articles about other stories by your author that might have similar themes.
    • You can then extrapolate that information to apply it to the story you're working on. 
    • ex. empathy is a major theme in this other Baldwin story; perhaps it works a similar way in "Sonny's Blues"

STILL not getting many results? You may need to change your topic, and that's okay! Settling on  a fruitful topic itself is research, and  a normal part of the academic research process.



Ebooks About Your Authors

Find these titles and more by searching for them in the library's catalog! Copy/paste the titles into the main search bar on the library homepage and hit Enter. Then, from the dropdown options on the right side of the search bar select Ebooks as your material type and hit Enter again. Access the full text online by following the link from the book's description.


I found these titles by searching: author name AND (criti* OR inter*)

Reference Librarian

Samantha Berry's picture
Samantha Berry
640 Bay Rd, Queensbury Ny, 12804 | Scoville Learning Center
Email at: berrys@sunyacc.edu