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College of DuPage Library

Short Story Research

How do I find short stories?

Short stories can be found in a number of ways. First, try a search for the title of your short story in the Library Catalog. Choose Keyword search and enter the name of it. If that does not work, try looking by author. Perhaps your short story is one of many in a book by that author. To retrieve sources by an author, use the Library Catalog. Choose Author search and enter the last name first.

Sample search for a title
Sample search for an author

If you are unable to locate a copy of the short story in our library, use a specialty index to short stories. For example, "Short Story Index" does not refer to criticism. Rather, it indicates where short stories are published, such as in a book or periodical.Using indexes is a two-step process. Find where it is published, and then find out if the Library owns that source.

*Need to pick a short story?  Use our list of popular short stories to select one that interests you and then follow the above steps to find it in the Library.

How do I find criticism for short stories?

First, try a search in the Library Catalog for books about the author or his or her works.

Sample search for an author

Second, use our collection of books specifically for short story research.  The following books are available in the Reference Collection.

  • Critical Survey of Short Fiction   Ref PN 3321 .C7 1993
  • Reference Guide to Short Fiction  Ref PN 3373 .R36 1994
  • Short Stories for Students  Ref PN 3373 .S3844
  • Short Story Criticism  Ref PN 3373 .S386

Third, use an index or bibliography to refer to discussion often published in scholarly journals or books about a short story. Usually, the actual critical essay is not listed. Instead, the index lists where you will find the critical essay.

  • Essay & General Literature Index  Kept on Periodical Index Shelves
  • Humanities Index  Kept on Periodical Index Shelves
  • Literary Criticism Index  Ref PN 523 .W4 1984
  • Twentieth Century Short Story Explication  Ref PN 3373 .W3
  • Magill's Bibliography of Literary Criticism  Ref PN 523 .M3 1979x

Can I find any criticism online?


Try the Library's literature databases for articles about your author or short story.  Here are just some of the databases appropriate for finding short story criticism:

These databases are available on and off-campus. Have your library card handy when accessing the databases from off-campus-- you will be asked for your name and library card number before you can search them.


Web sites, especially those sponsored by colleges and universities, can also provide useful criticism for your research.  

If you find other sites on your own, be sure to carefully evaluate the information.  Who is the author? Is the content reliable? Is the information current?  To review and rate all types of web sites, use our checklist of tips to help you.

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