Familiarize yourself with your topic before beginning your research. This will save time later.
Know the parameters of the reference tool(s) you are searching. Certain reference works only cover particular time periods or may not be comprehensive in scope. For instance, most online databases begin their coverage in the 1980s.
Make the fullest use possible of reference tools, including bibliographies which can lead you to other sources.
Read the source carefully. Note organizational differences between tools.
Be creative. Try alternative and related headings to locate the information you need.
Harvard Guide to Using Sources: The Harvard Guide to Using Sources is an easily accessible introductory guide to use of sources. It includes tips for students on finding, choosing, and integrating reliable sources into academic writing. The Guide provides examples of MLA, APA, and Chicago styles of citation and includes information on avoiding plagiarism.
French writers are usually listed under their family name.
e.g. Gouges, Olympe de
e.g. Charrière, Madame de or Charrière, Isabelle
e.g. Princesse de Clèves
Certain individual titles may not be available in separate editions. Check for œuvres which may contain the specific work.
e.g. French fiction-17th century-History and Criticism
Database subject searching is often keyword based so it creates a more broad based search. The entire bibliographic entry is searched and not just the subject field.