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Research Tutorial: Database Searching

Database Searching: The Best Fit for You

Video Transcript

We join our hero, yes that’s you! You’ve been working out every day strengthening your research muscle by doing background reading, you’ve done your crunches when you create a search string, and you’ve done your sit-ups when you identified the best database for your information need. Excellent!
Now you are ready to Level UP!

You’re up for the challenge. To level up, you need to find an article on your topic in one of the library’s databases. You can think of a library database as the Super Bowl’s winning playbook. Just as the playbook contains the fundamental plays for Super Bowl success, each play is not unlike the important articles that can be matched to your research needs.

Thus, you will find library databases are the best places to find credible, authoritative, and scholarly articles.

You wonder, where do I begin? Let’s start with some definitions, okay? First, you may have heard your professor talk about citations. But what are they and what do they mean? 

A citation has all information needed to reference a specific article, including the author, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number, date, and page number(s). More importantly, it documents the article/s you used in writing your papers.

Then you may have heard about periodicals, but why are they important? What does that mean?  A periodical is a journal, magazine, newspaper, newsletter, and more that come out on a regular basis. Think Time Magazine or Washington Post, for example.

Finally, your professor explained about the importance of using library DATABASES. You may think, "I can Google it. Why is it important for me to know how to search a library database?" Because database search engines are designed to help you find and locate information on your topic. Some databases may be subject-specific and contain scholarly research articles from subscription journals and other authoritative sources. Others are general and cover many subjects. Either way, you will find authoritative resources for your research assignment.

Now, that you have some basic concepts under your belt, let’s start SEARCHING FOR ARTICLES IN A DATABASE

Today, you are going to be searching in the OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS IN CONTEXT database. That’s because this database provides electronic access to social issues covered in viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, and links to Web sites, full-text journals, magazine and newspaper articles, reference sources as well as multimedia sources. Awesome!

Let’s Get Started: To find articles for your assignment, go to the Prince Georges Community College Libraries home page

You’ll need to click on the LEFT NAVIGATION TAB that says RESEARCH DATABASES. Then, you’ll go to the top blue banner where you see the alphabet letters, A-Z.  Click on the letter "O" and then find OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS IN CONTEXT. Click on that link and you will go directly to the database.
You can BROWSE topics in this database or SEARCH USING KEYWORDS.

Say, for example, your topic is RACIAL PROFILING, you can select RACIAL PROFILING from the BROWSE ISSUES TAB or if you want to consider RACISM, then you can search RACISM in the search box.

That’s all there is to it! In a flash, you have authoritative information resources at your fingertips.

What Databases are available for use at the library?

Prince George's Community College's Library provides commercial databases for its users as well as non-fee databases.