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Research Process

Searching Databases for Articles and More

What is a Database?

The Library has many different types of databases such as electronic book, streaming video, art, and periodical databases. Periodical databases allow you to search for specific articles published in periodical literature (newspapers, magazines, journals, trade publications). 

Where are the Databases?

You can find the Library's databases under the eResources tab in the middle of the Library's homepage.

eResources Tab

Under that tab are two links. The Alphabetical List of eResources link lists all of the databases in alphabetical order. You can break them down by Subject from there. The Recommended eResources link arranges the databases by specific subjects or types of databases. The databases under General Magazines/Journals, such as Academic Search Premier or Academic OneFile, are a good starting point because they offer articles on a wide variety of subjects. Next, search a subject specific databases based on your topic.

Database Tips

Choose a database and type your search statement into the search box and hit enter. A list of results will come up. Remember to browse through your results to see if there is anything that will work for you. You might have to go past the first page of results. If you are not getting any results, try different keywords. Once you find an article that works, click on the title to see the entire record and look at what subject terms that article uses. Next start searching with those terms to get better results.

Each database has its own set of limits that you can apply to your search. Limits vary from database to database, but some universal limits include date limits, full-text limits, and peer-reviewed limits (sometimes labeled scholarly or refereed). Full text means that the entire article is available, not just the abstract (a summary), or just the citation. These are usually located on the left side of your results screen.

Once you locate an article that you want and you click on the title to get into the full record, you have the option of printing it, saving it to your desktop or to a storage device, or emailing it to yourself.  Most databases also have a citation tool for you to use that will create your citation for you. Make sure to double check that the citations are accurate. All of these tools are usually on the right side of the screen.

To access MCC’s electronic databases off campus, you authenticate by logging in with your MEID.

Researching takes time. Don’t get frustrated and don’t be afraid to ask for help. On the homepage of the library on the left side is a link to the Library's 24/7 chat service with a librarian - Ask a Librarian.  Please use it!

Databases Verus the Web

Why should you use the databases instead of the Internet?

The information available in databases is not the same as what you find on the Web. And, while you use the Web to access the databases, they are not actually on the Web. They are not available to everyone. You must be a student or employee of the institution that subscribes to the database and, when accessing the databases remotely (i.e., off site), you must authenticate your status with the subscribing institution. To access MCC's electronic databases, you authenticate by logging in with your MEID.

In your college work, some of your professors will stipulate that you must use refereed or scholarly or peer-reviewed literature. (These words are all referring to basically the same thing: articles that have been reviewed by experts prior to publication.) When a professor tells you to use this type of literature, s/he is referring to the articles in scholarly journals and you access these journal articles through the periodical databases. Yes, you can find some peer-reviewed literature on the free Web, but it is more challenging to locate and there is a smaller volume of it on the Web. Frequently, when you find this type of literature on the "free" Web, you will have to pay for a copy of the article you want. Prices range from $10 to about $40 per article! The library's subscription databases are your best resource for locating this type of literature.