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What is a Research Database?
A research database is a research tool that contains published articles from magazines, newspapers, academic journals, health resources and encyclopedias.
What does this mean for me?
Research databases are approved for your papers by your teachers because they are published for academic research and are available in a print format. The difference is that it is much easier to use a database to find a published article rather than go through a large amount of magazines and journals to find one article-The database does the work for you.
How do I access a database?
All you need is a Whittier Library card to access our databases. Click on the “Virtual Library” button either on the homepage or on the teen page. Once you click on that you will see a variety of different databases. Each database has a description of what the database does. Whether you are looking for newspaper articles, journal articles or magazine articles, you will find them all in a database.
An example of using a database: If you are doing a current event topic check out the general reference database, the student resource database, the opposing viewpoints database as well as the newspaper databases. If you take the time to look through multiple databases you will be surprised to see how many different types of articles you can actually find.
Why use a database? Can’t I just come in to the library to check out a book on a subject instead?
Books are always recommended when you are writing a paper. However, if you are writing a paper on a special topic, particularly if your topic is a recent event that has happened, using a database is the way to go. Databases will always carry articles that are current. You may even find articles that were published the very same day! This assures you that the information you are getting is the most current and relevant for research.
How can I search a database?
Once you find a database you want to research in, you will see a variety of different options. You can either type in a keyword search of your topic or you can search by publication or subject. You will also see that you have options to narrow your search for you. You can narrow your search by date, you can narrow your search by publication title and date, you can choose what reading level you want the article at and you can choose a particular type of document you want to review such as a biography or book review or magazine article, etc.
Most databases will even cite your bibliography in MLA for you, eliminating the time spent trying to figure out how to cite in MLA.
What keywords do I use when I am searching for articles on my topic?
First rule of advice: don’t get discouraged when typing in keyword searches. Sometimes it takes a few different tries putting in different types of keyword searches before you hit a set of articles that you need.
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