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If your assignment says to use scholarly sources, the databases should be your first stop!
The Lone Star College libraries maintain a collection of research databases for you to use! These databases collect authoritative, credible sources, including articles from expensive scholarly journals, and make them searchable to you. Searching can be a little more complicated than using a regular search engine, but a librarian can help show you what to do. The upside is that you can put together much more specific searches, which means you have fewer results to wade through, and the ones you get are more likely to be relevant.
Read the title of the articles to assess if the article will be helpful to your research. Select the article to read an abstract, find other keywords to limit or broaden your search.
Once you have selected an article (PDF or HTML)… read it carefully. Note that each article will have a bibliography where you can find additional content. Buried treasure for the researcher!
Databases have tools to help you cite, email, print, download, etc. Look for these tools. MLA citations can be copied and pasted into your Works Cited page! Check for accuracy.
Dozens of complete reference books on arts, business, education, history, law, literature, sciences, and technology, including the popular sets of Short Stories for Students, Novels for Students, Poetry for Students, and Drama for Students.
This resource covers the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Hundreds of full-text journals and books, and selective indexing for journals dating back more than 60 years.
Covers all key journals in the history discipline, state and local history publications, and selected articles from scholarly journals in the social sciences and humanities. In addition to standard search features, this database allows for searching by time period.
When you're ready to search the databases, you'll usually want to go to the Advanced Search page. Most of the databases have one.
Once you're on the Advanced Search page, you're going to have more than 1 search field now (usually 2-3 with the option to add more as needed). What to put in here? Think back to your brainstorming where you came up with alternate search terms and broke your topic down into its keywords.
The default AND joiner has the most limiting power. When you search for "cat AND dog," you will get fewer results than just searching for cat because the database will only bring back articles that mention both terms.
In its most basic sense, a database is just a selection of information designed for you to search and retrieve stuff from it. Amazon is a database you're probably familiar with: it's limited (only contains things you can buy through them) and retrievable (you can search and filter your results to find what you're looking for).
The library databases contain reputable, reliable sources of information to support researchers like you! This means everything from digital encyclopedias (like Credo), ebooks, scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, streaming videos, statistics, and more.
Scholarly Articles on the Web
Note: Scholarly articles tend to be behind paywalls. The same things that make them so reliable (authoritative authors, critical review, thoughtful analysis) also make them expensive.
Google Scholar skims the web for scholarly articles but not all of them will be accessible online for free. Check the databases to see if the library has access. If not, and you have a couple days to spare, you can also do an interlibrary loan (ILL) request to get the article for free.