Critical analysis: David Ives' "Sure Thing"
Why does an exhaustive search for academic criticism of David Ives’ play “Sure Thing” yield scarce results? Often, a contemporary work that is newer or less well-known will not yet have a body of criticism built around it. So what should you do? Your strategy should be to read critical analysis of the author and his other works, and combine this with what you know about the play “Sure Thing.” Use this guide to help you find appropriate sources for each type of information.
Research Help is still available during Spring 2020 remote instruction!
Email or chat your subject librarian using the contact information on the right of this page. We can provide remote research assistance via Zoom (which allows for screensharing), chat, email, and phone.
There are two types of sources of critical work on an author and their work: books and scholarly articles. To find books, search in the library catalog using the keywords "david ives."
Use the same keywords (and follow the same rules about the quotation marks and asterisk) to search for scholarly articles in these databases:
Reviews and Commentary
Find information about the play (reviews, commentary):
To find general information and commentary about the work of David Ives, use your favorite search engine and type [“david ives” playwright] into the text box (without the brackets). You’ll uncover sources as diverse as interviews, profiles, reviews of performances, and author information provided by publishers of his work. Remember that "Sure Thing" is a piece within a collection of one-act plays called "All in the Timing," so do read on if you see that title mentioned in your results.
To locate reviews of individual performances of "Sure Thing," use your favorite search engine and type [“david ives” “sure thing”] into the text box (without the brackets). WATCH OUT for the avalanche of student work like term papers, high school English essays, and cheat sheets. It will be evident to your professor if these kinds of sources show up in your bibliography. Adding the additional keyword [reviews] (without the brackets) will limit the results somewhat, but always pay closer attention to the URL than to the title in the results list. Look, instead, for sources of theatre news, like Variety, Playbill, and national or local newspapers. Remember that even reviews of performances by small or local theatre companies can reveal thoughtful new perspectives about the play. The following databases index periodicals like industry magazines (e.g. Variety or Playbill), popular magazines, and newspapers. These are all potential sources of theatre reviews.
As you write your paper, you'll need to cite passages and ideas from the sources you've found. In order to cite your resources properly, you need to follow the style guide used by for this class, the MLA Handbook.
Sites with examples of in-text citations and works cited pages (supplement the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers)
- MLA Quick Citation Guide (Penn State University)
- MLA Style Center (Modern Language Association)
- Cite Source (Trinity College)
Offers help on citations, quotations, and intellectual property
Citation generator--be sure you choose the MLA format!
In the library:
Manage your citations and resources:
Zotero (it's free!, create a library to save your articles, notes and create citations)