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General Research

Databases collect thousands of digital resources, including popular, trade, and scholarly journals. Some databases even provide access to eBooks. Yes, you can find many of the sources on Google, but some of the best information is behind a paywall. The library databases give you access when Google denies you access.


Below are the databases that are best for most research tasks. The descriptions should be enough to help you get started. But don't hesitate to ask the librarian or aides for help if you need it.

If you need the password for the databases, click the button below. You must be logged in to your school Gmail to access the document.


Click the EBSCO image to search multiple databases at the same time.


Issues & Controversies helps researchers explore hundreds of hot topics in politics, government, business, society, education, and pop culture. When you search for a topic, you will see an article page with numerous links to editorials and opinions. The database provides in-depth articles that present multiple viewpoints on current issues. This is an excellent database to use for argumentative essays.


Academic Search Premier from EBSCO indexes popular and scholarly sources related to multiple disciplines. It offers full-text for 1000s of articles. This is an excellent database for college-level courses and the IB extended essay.


Britannica is an online encyclopedia. Its entries can provide background knowledge or historical context that can help you understand a topic. Though you may not be able to cite the articles in your essay, this database can help you choose better search terms for EBSCO databases and Issues & Controversies.


Explora is a database that provides a simple search experience with high-quality articles and videos. It provides easy-to-browse categories, and some articles even have a read-aloud option.


You can access several reference books online. Topics include literature, history, science, health, and careers. The articles are useful to students new to a topic, someone looking for a quick tidbit of information, or someone who needs to review information.


Open-access (OA) journals provide free and open access to scholarly journal articles. Most of these follow the same peer-review process as other journals. The main difference is that they are freely available and not behind a paywall. Checkout the OA journals below:


  • The library offers other databases that are more subject-specific. Ask a librarian or aide if you need help with these.

  • You can also access the public and state library databases. Talk to your librarian about getting a card and access.

  • Databases can seem scary at first, but they do provide you better information more quickly once you get used to them.

Tips for Better Searches


Don't type in your entire research question. Choose 2-3 keywords.


Use the predictive topics that pop up in the search bar to choose better keywords.


Use advanced search to limit the options or add Boolean operators.


Use the limiters on the left once the results list populates, esp. if more than 200 results are returned.


On a record, look a the subjects listed. This may help with keywords. Not all databases records have this.


Write down the search terms you use. This will help you repeat the search if you need to.


Save relevant articles by emailing the article to yourself. Don't just copy/paste the URL into a document.

information now.jpg

You can also check out this graphic novel about how to research using the library catalog, databases, and the internet.

Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research and Web Literacy.

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