There are many resources where you can find articles and other less-than-book-length texts about your topic. (See the databases available to you at Vanderbilt.)
Here are just a few of the most relevant:
What is ?
FindIt@VU provides direct links from a database citation to the fulltext of the article (if available) and other supporting resources.
You'll also see FindIt@VU buttons in Acorn.
An FAQ for FindIt@VU is also available.
Use Acorn, the library catalog, to find out what books Vanderbilt owns or provides access to.
Let's say you want to find secondary sources on Great Fool (Ryōkan). You could try searching for great fool, but you may want to search more broadly for ryokan.
This will give you results both by and about Ryōkan. If you want to limit to items about Ryōkan, look at the Topic section on the left-hand side of the results page. In this case, you'll need to click on "More Options" under the Topic section:
Put check marks in the Include column to limit your search to items specifically about Ryōkan. (Select other topics as appropriate.) Click the "Continue" button to get search results.