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Federal Government Overview (TR): Find Articles

Databases to Try

Database Tips

Magazine, newspaper, and journal articles may be found using an online tool called a database.  Search the databases to find articles from both scholarly and popular sources.  Remember:  When off campus, you must login with your Web Advisor username and password to access a database through TCC libraries.

Improve your search by thinking of various keywords that relate to the subject and combine them in an advanced search.


  • "American Revolutionary War"
  • segregation OR "separate but equal"
  • Rosa Parks AND "Montgomery bus boycott"

Topic: Types of Government Structures

Example search:

  • government AND structure AND federal

Example results

  • JOURNAL ARTICLE:   Charron, Nicholas, and Victor Lapuente. "Which Dictators Produce Quality Of Government?." Studies In Comparative International Development, vol. 46, no.4, 2011, pp. 397-423. Academic Search Complete, 
  • REPORT:   "Government Structure." Samoa Country Review, July 2012, pp. 44-47. Business Source Complete,

Topic: 1st amendment of the United States Constitution

Example searches:

  • "first amendment" AND constitution AND "united states"
  • "freedom of speech" AND "bill of rights"

Example results

Help - Types of Sources

How do I know if a resource is scholarly (academic)?

Scholarly Sources:

  • are often written by professors, researchers, and experts in the field with advanced degrees
  • are written for other scholars, professionals, and students
  • have a list of references 
  • use technical language of the field
  • often provide research findings, statistics, and literature reviews

What about Popular sources, like magazines?

Popular Sources:

  • are for the general population
  • avoid technical terminology and use easy-to-understand language
  • usually do not have bibliographies or references
  • often written by staff writers with little specialized knowledge
  • are written for entertainment and general knowledge


Source: Cornell University 

What about Primary sources?

Primary sources:

  • provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation without evaluation or interpretation.  
  • contains the information from which a secondary or tertiary source is derived and is written by someone directly involved in the historical event or primary research. 
  • includes original documents such as diaries, speeches, letters, audio transcripts, emails, autobiographies, and interviews
  • includes creative works such as photographs, novels, poetry, music, and artworks 

What about Science?  

In the sciences, a primary source is the published result of experimental or observational research.

Source: University of Maryland Libraries