Skip to Main Content Library Homepage College Homepage
Research Guides

Drama Criticism: Get Started

This is a guide to selected sources of information related to drama criticism at the Geisel Library.

Why Use Reference Sources?

Reference sources include encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries.  They are a great place to begin your research, since they can help with the following:

  • Offer ideas for possible research topics
  • Give you background information on your topic
  • Define unfamiliar terms
  • Suggest keywords to use when searching for books and articles
  • Point you to books and articles on your topic, via "works cited" lists

Starting Points

Reference books are shelved by call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk on the Main Level of the library. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the Lower Level of the library. Use reference resources to find background information on authors and literary works, as well as the social issues, historical periods, and themes.

Picking a Topic

Use these tips to help you choose a research topic:

  • To brainstorm ideas to research, try browsing:
    • News in your subject area. (Google sociology news to find websites to browse.)
    • The table of contents of a book or encyclopedia in your subject area.
  • Do some initial searching on one or more topic ideas, using our main library search box or Google.
  • Refine your topic based on what you find:
    • Maybe you found a slight variation or different direction you want to go in.
    • Tons of results? Consider narrowing your topic to focus on a smaller aspect of it.
    • Hardly any results? You may need to broaden your topic and make it less specific.
  • In the end, choose something you're interested in.

If you want to discuss topic ideas, stop by the Reference Desk to chat with a librarian.

General Search Tips

These search tips work in our library databases and Library Catalog:

  • Combine keywords using AND and OR.
    • Use AND for searching different ideas within your topic. E.g. youth AND homelessness
    • Use OR for searching with synonyms of your keywords. E.g. (youth OR teen) AND homelessness
  • Abbreviate words with multiple endings using an asterisk (*). E.g. homeless* to search both homeless and homelessness
  • Search specific phrases using quotation marks. E.g. "Runaway and Homeless Youth Act"
  • Change your search terms around to get different results.

Select Reference Collection Resources

Theatre Indexes and Encyclopedias
The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama
     Ref PN1861 .C65

Drama Criticism
Volume 2 is a checklist of interpretation since 1940 of classical and continental plays.
   Ref PN1655 .C6, Vol. 2

Dramatic Criticism Index:  a Bibliography of Commentaries on Playwrights from Ibsen to the Avant-Garde
     Ref PN1707 .B74

European Drama Criticism, 1900–1975
     Ref PN1721 .P37

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama
     Ref PN1625 .M3
General Criticism
Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism
Though this only provides excerpts of critical works, it is a good starting point to discover patterns of thought on authors and movements and criticism on selected works. Use the bibliographies to explore relevant criticism in other publications.
   Ref PN94 .T83

American Drama Criticism 1890–1977; also supplement
Lists critical material found in books and periodical articles on American dramatists.
   Ref PS332.E33

A Guide to Critical Reviews
     Ref PN2266 .S32

Ask a Librarian!

Contact the Reference Desk

email Email
Chat Chat
smartphone Text (603) 556-8883
 phone Call (603) 641-7306
calendar Make an Appointment