Here are some suggestions to help you narrow down your searches:
|Best Bets for Scholarly Journal Articles||Best Bets for Scholarly Books||Best Bets for Critical Essays|
|MLA International Bibliography||MLA International Bibliography||Literature Resource Center|
|JSTOR||Project MUSE||Literature Criticism Online Archive|
|Project MUSE||JSTOR||Literary Reference Center|
Just like shopping online, before you look at those search results, make sure you are filtering your results. Filtering allows you to limit the number of results based on things like date range, full-text access, and even resource type.
The filters will often reset when you do a new search so make sure you double-check them.
I often tell students to not even look at the results without filtering first.
Language is 90% of the search. How we describe something changes depending on time, location, and field. If you aren't getting the results you want, try changing the search terms you are using. Don't be afraid to pull out that thesaurus or even search in Google for related terms.
It also helps if you search using quotes for search terms. Instead of the yellow wallpaper, try searching, "The Yellow Wallpaper". This tells the database to search not just the words, "yellow" and "wallpaper," but the phrase altogether.