If you can't find many articles on your topic, you may want to try a periodical index which focuses on a specific academic field. Academic libraries often subscribe to this kind of subject index . One subject index that is particularly useful for finding literary criticism is the Modern Language Association's MLA International Bibliography , which includes scholarly writings on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore. Ask your librarian to help you find a library near you where you can use this index, or to suggest other indexes that may be useful to you.
Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other supporting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.