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Thesis & Research Papers: Library Databases

Help for Junior Students doing English III Thesis (including Honors III) : Research, Citation, Plagiarism, Writing, Forming Arguments, Etc.

What are Library Databases, and Why should you use them?

Library Databases are subscription collections  (i.e. things that we pay to access) of research sources including: Periodical (Magazine, Newspaper, Trade Journal, Scholarly Journal) articles, electronic Reference Books,  Images, Videos, Primary Documents and more.

So why do we pay for them when Google and the Web exist?

  1. The vast majority of their content is NOT freely available elsewhere.  You can't find it on the web
  2. All of the content comes from known, reputable, sources.  While you still need to evaluate what you read based on currency, bias, audience, purpose, type, etc.  You will always be able to identify the original source.  None of it is Fake, or intentionally misleading for economic or political gain. All of it has been through some sort of editorial process or oversight.
  3. They offer additional features  that add value to the information including citation help, intentional selection and grouping of sources by topic, links to more related resources, easy google-drive access, powerful advanced search filtering, etc.

PASSWORDS for using Databases from Home are on CANVAS

3 Tips for Using Databases Well

  1. Look at all of the features.  They aren't just there to fill space. Most Databases have similar features, but may put them in a different place on the page, or call them something different.
    • ​Are there options to "Save", "Email", or "Upload to "Drive"?
    • Does it give you pre-formatted citations for articles? (if so, are they accurate?!)
    • Is there a list of specific publications that are in the database?
    • Does it give you options to filter results
  2. Use the ADVANCED SEARCH. This isn't google's one-search-box solution. You can to more powerful searches by being specific about what you want to search for, and where you want to search in the document, etc.
    • ALSO: Use filters to check narrow down your search results
    • Make use of the database's "search suggestions"
  3. Use Good Search Strategies.  Databases are a powerful tool, but they're only powerful if you use them well, the same strategies  that fuel good Internet searches, work in databases.
    • Use multiple search terms.  Don't just search on your focus, search AROUND it as well.
    • Understand what kinds of sources you are finding, and what kind you are looking for.
    • Re-Search.  

PASSWORDS for using Databases from Home are on CANVAS

PASSWORDS for using Databases from Home are on CANVAS.

They are not posted directly on this page: Go to your Utility-Period course, click on "Library".  Passwords are there. You must Log-in to CANVAS.CLICK HERE,

If you have problems with a database log-in from home, here are some tips to help you trouble-shoot on your own (which is an excellent skill for college and life).

  • double check the password  you are using.  most of our databases are the same, but a few are different. Remember: they are on Canvas.
  • try a different browser (FireFox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, etc.), or clearing your 'cookies' or 'cache'.
  • are you using a "search widget" (i.e. directly searching from a search box on a libguides page)?  If so, try going to the database first, which should ask for a password, and then searching from there.
  • are you using a URL you copy-pasted while at school to?  If so, try going to the database first, which should ask for a password, and then using details from the citation  you made for the article (title, author, source, container, etc) to re-find the article. (you did make a citation first, right?)
  • Make sure you're starting in the right place: the CCHS Library Website.  Googling for "Gale" or "Ebsco" or "SIRS" might not get you where you need to be.

After you've tried some of these options, if you are still having trouble...

Contact your Librarian. On any "Digital Learning Days" the Central Catholic High School Librarian will be reachable via email.  When you contact the librarian, please include the following information...

  • What database you tried to use, and where you found the password
  • How you tried to get to that database (a URL link is helpful)
  • What troubleshooting methods you have already tried.

CLICK HERE, or use the Link below to find the passwords. They are not posted directly on this page. You must Log-in to CANVAS.

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Gale Databases

WHY USE GALE? Gale offers several different databases, including the "In Context" and "Resource Center" Databases, which group many different kinds of sources (Articles, Images, Primary Documents, Pro/Con essays, etc) by TOPIC.  For Argumentative/Persuasive papers on current issues "Opposing Viewpoints" is the gold-standard.

Best Bets for Junior Thesis

SIRS Databases

WHY USE SIRS Knowledge Source?: We have two SIRS databases:  Issues Researcher organizes multiple content types by "Current Issue" Topics in a PRO/CON format, which is great for finding information for Argumentative / Persuasive communication.  Government Reporter covers topics related to Policy, Procedure, and other workings of the US. Government

EBSCO Databases

 WHY USE EBSCO DATABASES?  Ebsco has our largest collection of Scholarly/Academic Journals, Popular Magazines, and Newspapers.  For Argumentative/Persuasive resources, try TOPICSearch.

Britannica Online - Encyclopedia

WHY USE BRITANNICA?   To get background information and fuel better searches.

NOTE FOR THESIS WRITERS:

Britannica is an Encyclopedia, a tertiary source, that is useful for gaining background knowledge and understanding, but not worth citing in an academic paper.

eLibrary

 

 

WHY USE eLibrary? eLibrary is good for background and context information in multiple formats.