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Literatures in English Research Guide

The following is intended as a general guide to research in literature.


Books are an essential resource for research in literature, because they are:

  • Easy to browse
  • More likely to provide introductory materials
  • Broken down into chapters on specific topics

Notice you don't have to read the whole book!

For information on articles, see the article tab.


The quantity of search results OneSearch returns can be overwhelming, but the filters in the left-hand menu make it easy to limit the results to only the most relevant. For example, you can limit the "Resource Type" to "Books," since we know that OneSearch is best at finding books. You can also limit the results by publication date, under "Date," so that only the most up-to-date scholarship is returned. Another useful limiter is the "Limit To" option, which is farther up in the filter menu than this image shows; it gives you the option of limiting your results to only resources with the "Full Text Online" -- which is a great option when you're researching from home.

By default, OneSearch only searches the collection at your home campus. But by selecting "CUNY Libraries" at the top of the Advanced Search box, you can search for materials at any CUNY campus. You'll need to log in to request a book from another campus. Then, you can choose to have that book delivered to the Queens College library or another library in the CUNY system for you to pick up.

Interlibrary Loan

Other Ways of Looking for Books

Searching for Books

Books on an Author or Work

You can find books about an author's work very easily.  Search for the author in the

Search with

Subject Begins with...

using the author's last name first.   

Because this is a subject search, you will find all the 

You will see a list that looks like this:

Dickens, Charles. 1812-1870. Bleak House.
Dickens, Charles. 1812-1870 -- Characters.
Dickens, Charles. 1812-1870 -- Characters -- Children.
Dickens, Charles. 1812-1870 -- Criticism and Interpretation.
Dickens, Charles. 1812-1870 -- Encyclopedias 

This is useful to scan through and find books on a particular subject.  You might find books about a particular work, or books about other aspects of the author's life and writing, such as their political and social views. The headings will also call out specific types of works, such as encyclopedias, which are often useful for background information on the author's world.

Finally, "Criticism and Interpretation" is always a good heading for critical works. 

Browsing the Shelves

Browse the Shelves

This is a very effective strategy for literature, because all the books on an author are usually shelved together.

Reference books are on level 3, while most other books are on level 5.

Use the call number in the catalog to find out where the books on an author are. British literature can be found under PR, American under PS. 

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