ENGL 101 English Composition 1

A collection of resources for assignments commonly seen in ENGL&101 at Green River College.

How to find articles in a library database

Searching the library's databases

Walk through the Four Steps to learn how to search a database and select appropriate articles.

This search is for Academic Search Complete, but you will use many of the same techniques for other databases. 


Step 1: Go to Holman Library Homepage

On the library home page, under Find Articles, we provide two links to databases:

  • Databases by Subject
  • Databases by Name.

I suggest starting with Databases by Subject if you are not sure exactly where to go.

Step 2: Select a Database (sample: Academic Search Complete)

On the library homepage, select Databases by Subject.

In the center of the page, you will see a box labeled "Not sure where to start? Best Bet databases..."

If you're not sure where to start, try looking in the first "background information" databases, such as Gale Virtual Reference Library (also called Gale Ebooks)

Select Academic Search Complete.

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list of databases

Step 3:  Type in Search Terms
  • Use the "Advanced Search" to give you more control when you search.

  • Brainstorm different keywords that could address the same concept:

climate change / global warming / greenhouse effect / polar icecaps / sea levels

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search boxes in academic search complete database  

  • Using AND between your search terms helps you to refine your search.  In the above example, we want to find articles about climate change and the government policies that address it.

  • If you receive too few results, try removing narrowing terms or selecting new ones from your topic brainstorm list.


And if you need to access articles immediately, be sure to check the box to limit to "Full Text." Then required, you can also limit the results to show only articles from journals that use the peer-review process.

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limit to full text and/or scholarly peer reviewed if needed

Step 4: Select Articles

After you click on "Search", view your results.  This example shows #3 of 244 results found with this search combination.  244 is a good set of results for this search - not too big, not too small. 

  • Too large a number (1,000s) usually indicates that your search is not narrow enough, e.g.: "climate change".
  • Too few?  Your search terms might be too specific: "climate change" AND "government policy" AND "mangos".

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results of search

In the image above, you can see one of the search results from our search for "Climate change" AND "Government policy" Notice that you can access the PDF on the results page, or you can click on the title to access the PDF and get more info about the article. 

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results of the search

Notice that the results also tell you what kind of publication it is, how long it is, where it is from, and like most databases, you will be given the chance to read the abstract, get a citation, and email yourself the articles.

Article Databases

Key Databases

You will find magazine and newspaper articles written for the general public, as well as scholarly articles written for an academic audience in these multidisciplinary databases. You can limit to specific types of info.

Other Useful Databases can be found by Subject:

For More on Scholarly Articles

Find more articles

Article databases include articles from newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals. 

If your instructor requires you to use information from a scholarly journal, you can limit your database search specifically to scholarly, or peer-reviewed,  articles.

For lots of helpful information on finding and then using information from a scholarly article:

Check out the Scholarly Journals Subject Guide linked below