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ENGL 1301 SO McGilbrey: Unit 2 - Issue Proposal

This guide has been designed to assist you in the research for your ENGL 1301 assignments.

What are TCC Databases

What are Databases?

Library Databases

Library databases do a lot of the hard work of the research process for you. They have been professionally evaluated and selected by your college librarians for their authoritative and reliable content. Library databases contain full-text peer-reviewed and scholarly journals as well as newspapers, professional, trade, and popular magazines. They provide primary source materials, reference sources, statistical resources, and a wealth of other information you can trust. 

To find articles:


Internet vs Databases

The Internet is good for a lot of searches and source types.  For example, if you need very current information or news and commentary, Web searching is a good strategy.

Databases are special -- they are collections of information (usually articles from magazines and scholarly sources) made available to subscribers.  Databases are very valuable because they contain and maintain specific collections, and are relatively easy to search.  We use the Web to access Database collections, but articles accessed are not considered "online" or "web" sources in the same way that a Wikipedia entry is.


Online Databases

Databases ​


Which Database to Use?

We subscribe to dozens of databases on your behalf.  Choosing the right database for the right project can be tough.  This view of the database page gives descriptions of what each does, and that can help you to decide which is best.

You'll also see that we've grouped the databases into subjects near the top of the database page.


Here are some shortcuts to help get you started:

Doing an argumentative essay in an entry English course?

 Try Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.

Need Law Review articles, cases, or in-depth business information?

 Try Lexis-Nexis.

Working on a literature criticism research paper?

 Try the Literature Resource Center.

Using Library Databases

Finding Articles in Periodicals: Select one of the databases from the Find Articles by Subject link on the Find tab of the Library homepage.



Off-Campus Note: If you are using a computer outside the TCC network, you will be redirected to a login page after you select one of the database services. The login page will give you specific instructions on entering your user name and password. If you have problems signing on, contact the library staff for assistance.

I Found An Article, Now What?

Once you find an article you want to use for your assignment, you may read it online, print it, email to your email account or save it to disk. The information is the same for all. Be sure if you are printing, emailing, or saving it to disk, that you check the box to include full text.

CautionBe careful when emailing a PDF article, because those files can be quite large. Many email/Internet providers have strict limits on the size of messages and attachments, and oversized PDF attachments might be deleted automatically by your email server or exceed your available mailbox space.

Your MyTCC email address follows this format: 

For instance, if yourMyTCC username is marion.librarian25667

then your MyTCC email address is:

Once you have selected the database and followed any login instructions, enter your search terms. You can perform a basic or advanced search. The basic search is further divided by keywords or exact phrases. For most searches, basic keyword combinations [Example: privacy and terrorism] are sufficient. If you need to limit your results to "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" journals only, check the box labeled "peer-reviewed." In addition, check the box labeled "full text" (if available) so you will only get articles that include the full text.

Document formats: Once you have completed your search and are viewing the result list, you will notice that many articles are available in different formats.

  • HTML Full Text - This format includes just the text of the article and has limited graphics. This is the best choice if you do not need the included images or graphics, or you are saving/emailing the article and need to conserve space on your computer disk or in your mailbox.
  • PDF or Full Page Image - A scanned image that displays the article just as it appeared in the magazine or journal. It will include any charts, graphics, and pictures that appeared with the original article. This can be useful if you are looking for visual aids. Viewing a PDF requires the free Acrobat Reader.

If the documents are not what you are looking for, click on "Refine Search" and try other terms. Try searching synonyms, using specific phrases for exact searches, or use the Expand Search to locate related words.

How to Search

Generally, the same principles that apply in our book catalog searches, and the same principles you use in a Web search, apply in databases:

  • Keep it simple.  The less you put in, the more you get back.
  • Be specific.  A few keywords together are more likely to return relevant results to you than just one.
  • Use phrases.  If you want an exact string of terms to appear in the article, search for "the exact phrase" by putting "the exact phrase" in quotation marks.  For example, "george herbert walker bush" is different from "george bush" or "george w. bush".  Searching for the term bush alone could bring back articles about hedgerows.

Side Search Strategies

To formulate your database search, think about your topic carefully. Ask yourself the following:

What is the most concise word or words I can use to describe my topic?

Are there any other words that mean the same thing?

Do I need to add any words to my search to make my topic more clear to the computer? For example using the search phrase : "soft drink" and marketing indicates to the database software that you want articles on the marketing of soft drinks. Using the search phrase: "soft drink" and industry indicates to the database software that you want articles on the manufacturing and industrial aspects of soft drinks.

Boolean Operators:

Boolean operators are essentially command words to the database. The words "and," "or," and "not" are boolean operators when used in a database search. Since these three words are common enough to turn up in just about every article in a database, the database software sees these words in a search string as specific commands.

  • The "and" command indicates to the database software that you want to retrieve articles that contain the words on either side of the word "and" in the search string.
  • The "or" command indicates to the database software that you want to retrieve articles that contain either of the words separated by "or" in the search string.
  • The "not" command indicates to the database software that you want to retrieve articles that contain the word to the left of "not" but not the word to the right of "not" for instance: dolphins not miami.

When you want the database to search for a specific phrase, enclose the phrase in quotation marks: "soft drink" indicates to the database software that you want to retrieve articles about "soft drink"s, not every article containing the word soft and every article containing the word drink.

Suggested Databases

Fact vs Opinion

Fact vs. Opinion

Proposal Outline

SO Assistant Director of Library Services