Reference resources are great places to start your research. They include biographies about an author, encyclopedias about the author or literary themes. They provide historical background to a story or helps readers understand the historical influences on an author, story and/or characters.
The resources listed here are still considered reference, but the focus is more specific. For example, thematic reference, books about how certain events or eras influenced an author's characters, story plots and in some cases, actions.
Tipsheets for using the databases suggested in this guide.
When you need to find out what experts think about a literature work, you will look for literature (or literary) criticism. Criticism can be found as books, articles in journals, articles in books, and more. In the boxes below you will find instructions for locating criticism in these sources.