Q. How can I tell which database to use?
When trying to decide which database to use:
1. Make sure you need a database.
Sometimes databases and articles aren't the best place to find the info you need. Journal articles tend to be very specialized, on a specific aspect of a topic. Check with a librarian if you are not sure what type of source would be best.
2. See if a Course Guide has been created for your class.
This will provide links to databases that are hand-picked for your topics or assignments.
3. Decide if you want a multidisciplinary or subject-specific database.
Multidisciplinary database: Includes journals from a wide range of academic disciplines. Good for general searches, getting started, or working with subjects that don't easily fall into one academic field. Academic Search, Electronic Journal Center, JSTOR
Subject-specific database: Includes journals from one narrow academic field or discipline. Helpful because it automatically focuses your search, increases the likelihood of finding relevant results, and eliminates the need to sort through tons of results. Good for in-depth research; you should become very familiar with the databases for your major. Use our Subject Guides to determine which databases are recommended for that field.
4. ASK a Librarian.
This is our area of expertise! We know all about finding quality information sources and we're happy to help you out.