Accessing and Searching Databases

Choosing the right database is VERY IMPORTANT!

Of the many types of databases, the two main choices are general and subject specific.

  • General databases index articles from a variety of subject areas. Ebsco Academic Search Complete is an example. It contains articles from education, math, history, biology...and many, many more subjects. If you are writing a 3-10 page paper, this will be a good source to use.

  • Subject-specific databases focus on a particular field of study. This means that if you're looking for information about education, the database that specializes in education will be the best source for your search.

    It's kind of like buying sneakers at the mall. You wouldn't go to Kay Jewelers because you know they mainly stock jewelry. If you choose the wrong database you won't find what you want.

    If you are writing an extensive research paper (usually over 10 pages) it is best to search subject-specific databases because they are more comprehensive in the subject.