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Thesis & Research Papers: LitCrit - Library Databases

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

Database Information

PASSWORDS for using Databases from Home are on a GOOGLE DOC.

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 this secure Google Doc

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

Gale Databases

WHY USE GALE? Gale has "Gale Literary Sources" which searches an extensive eReference collection as well as the "Literature Resource Center".  These are the best sources of Literary Criticism and Literary Journals that we have.  You may also need to search for thematic or topical material if you are relating your primary sources to any non-literary concepts.  Gale has strong databases and eReference books in: Science, US History, Current Events & Global Issues, and more...

Best Bets for Honors Literary Criticism

Although this is a Literary Criticism essay, you may still need to use research from other fields (history, psychology, political science, etc.), and thus other databases, for contextual purposes.

Bloom's Criticism - Infobase

Infobase eBooks Why Use Bloom's / Infobase?: There are 31 eBooks of Bloom's Literary Criticism, specifically purchased for authors and works commonly studied for Thesis.

EBSCO Databases

Literary Reference Center
Limit Your Results

 WHY USE EBSCO DATABASES?    Literary Reference Center is of comparable quality and use to Gale's Literature Resource Center.    Also:Ebsco has our largest collection of Scholarly/Academic Journals, Popular Magazines, and Newspapers, which may be useful for going beyond your author's works, or for establishing historical context for your sources.

Salem Press eBooks

Salem Press provides searchable digital reference books. Primarily Literary Criticism on specific topics or authors specifically selected for Honors Thesis.

Britannica Online - Encyclopedia

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


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