The MLA (Modern Language Association) Index is a database that can be used to find scholarly journal articles, peer-reviewed essays published as chapters in books, and occasionally poems, short fiction, and creative nonfiction pieces that have been published in journals. The purpose of the MLA is to give scholars searchable access to tens of thousands of publications in the field of literary studies in all modern languages, as well as linguistics, rhetoric, teaching composition, film studies, and folklore. So, no matter which area of English you happen to be doing research in, the MLA database should be your first stop.
There are several different ways to access the MLA database through the ISU Library. The simplest one, and the simplest way to get the most information for your search, is this one. You'll see another tab devoted to the intricacies of using the MLA database, but this is a good way to get started.