This guide should help you to think through the various kinds of sources you might consider using in this class.
For more information about literary research, please see my general guide to research in literature:
Reference works and biographies can help to orient the reader to your text, its author, and the world in which the text was created.
Reading literary criticism will give you a good sense of the scholarly conversation, but we also have some tools that can help you get a quick sense of it from a slightly broader perspective.
Researching the reception of a work can be difficult; often your best bet is to see who else is talking about it already, in your secondary sources.
Aside from that, you can also consult:
One more note: "Reception" and "audience" are both searchable terms in MLA International Bibliography.
You might also be interested to see what kinds of work people are doing outside of traditional journal articles. Since your projects may vary widely, I can't recommend specific sites, but here are some aggregators you may find worth exploring:
When you're getting to know a work, reference works can be useful for quick lookups. For instance, you might want to check out: