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ENGL 1301 SE Library Instruction: 4b. Library databases


Databases are an excellent source for information that easily passes the CAARP test.

  • The best databases for many ENGL 1301 assignments are located under the News and Controversial Issues subject heading on the TCC Library website.
  1. Simply click the dropdown list labeled By Subject - List of Databases under the TCC Article Databases side of the website.
  2. Look for News and Controversial Issues on the dropdown list. 


Recommended databases:

Under the News and Controversial Issues topic, there are two types of databases. 

Issues databases, such as Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints and SIRS Issues Researcher, are designed for the types of assignments you will do in ENGL 1301. You do not need to structure a search. You will go to a list of topics and choose the one that is the closest to what you want to do. The database has already organized information for that particular topic. Use an issues database if you need help picking a topic or you have chosen a topic you do not know much about. 

Sometimes you will pick a topic that is not covered in the issues databases or you need specific information. In these cases, the multi-subject databases are good places to search. Good multi-subject databases to try are ProQuest and Academic Search Complete. These databases cover all kinds of information, but you will need to know how to structure a search in these databases. Remember to just pick the major concepts. For example, if I wanted to know about how climate change might affect Hawaii's beaches, I might search on "climate change AND Hawaii AND sea level". 


How to Use the Databases

 Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints is one of the easiest databases to start your research. It contains scholarly articles, topic overviews, encyclopedia articles, persuasive essays, and even videos and graphics for class presentations. 


1. Go to Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints.

2. Click on Browse Issues and choose your topic from the list of options. 

3. The topic page begins with an overview that will help you understand the most discussed and controversial aspects of your topic. 

4. Below the overview are the categories of different sources you could use for your paper. Most of the categories are easy to understand, but Viewpoints may be confusing. These are opinion pieces best used when you are doing a persuasive paper. 


5. When you have chosen a source for your paper, make sure you save it to refer back to later. Opposing Viewpoints is fully integrated with Google Drive. You have a Google Drive in your myTCC email. 

6. The Cite button at the top right will automatically generate an MLA citation for you, but remember you will still need to check it over. No automatic citation generator is always accurate. 

 SIRS Issues Researcher is another issues database you may find helpful.


1. Go to SIRS Issues Researcher.

2. Click on "Leading Issues" and use the dropdown menu to choose a category or view "All Leading Issues." 

3. Once you choose your topic, you will see pro and con viewpoints. Remember that you need to study both so you can properly refute the view you are arguing against.

4. Look for the magnifying glass and click on the link to "Find more sources."


5. Use the options on the left to limit to the types of sources and the dates requested by your professor. 


 ProQuest is a huge multi-subject database that covers just about any topic you can think of and has scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, videos, and much more.

1. Go to Proquest.

2. Click on "Advanced Search"

3. Enter one concept in each search box. You can click on "Add a row" to add more search terms.

4. Click the box for "Peer reviewed" if your professor requires you to use scholarly articles. 

5. Limiting to the last 5 years of publication is good practice to make sure you get recent sources and to limit the number of results. For some topics, you may need to limit to the last 12 months or create a custom date range to get even more recent information. 


6. Once you find a source you like, make sure you save it for later. You can download it, email it to yourself, or choose All Options to find the option to save directly into your Google Drive. 

7. The Cite button will automatically generate a citation for your source. Make sure you change it to MLA format and always double-check all automatically generated citations. 

 Academic Search Complete is another multi-subject database. Academic Search Complete has more filtering options than ProQuest and can sometimes be a good choice to help narrow down a broad topic. 


1. Begin at Academic Search Complete

2. Click on the Advanced Search. 




3. Enter one concept per box. If you need more rows, use the plus button to add them. 


4. Use the limiters on the left side of the page to limit to scholarly journals if needed and to limit by date to get the most current research. 



5. Once you find an article you like, make sure you save it to your Google Drive. 

6. The Cite button on the right side of the page will automatically generate an MLA citation for you. Remember to double-check it for accuracy!