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ENG W231: Professional Writing Skills

Choosing a database for your topic

WELCOME TO THE COURSE GUIDE FOR ENGLISH W231

Below are suggested databases grouped by subject area as well as other subject guides. Don't limit yourself to one database or you will miss articles in other journals. Explore and experiment, mix and match! Some additional subject guides, which include lists of databases related to specific fields of study, are included below, but all can be found at the following link:

Be aware: Suggested topics below do NOT automatically translate to be the best keywords for your search. Also, databases do NOT work like Google. In order to learn how to search these databases, check out the other pages in this guide.

 

INTERDISCIPLINARY DATABASES

These databases are good starting places for all topics and subject areas:

 

BUSINESS DATABASES

Choose one of these databases if your topic relates to:

hiring employees
marketing a product or service
staff training
customer relations
reducing theft
employee retention 
improving communication among staff

 

MEDICAL DATABASES

Chose one of these databases if your topic relates to health or medical topics:

 

EDUCATIONAL DATABASES

If your topic relates to educational topics like these, choose one of these databases:

student retention 
student involvement or engagement
student government or organizations
membership campaigns 
student participation
student life

 

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DATABASES

If your topic is related to social or political issues, choose one of these databases:

 

ATHLETICS DATABASES

If your topic relates to student athletics, try these databases below and also see education-related databases above.

 

PHILANTHROPY DATABASES

If your topic relates to one of the following topics, choose a database below:

volunteers 
fund raising
nonprofit organizations

Using Wikipedia for Research

Beyond Wikipedia - Finding Background Information

Once you have a research question and some keywords, the next step is to explore the topic. This step is important because it will build your knowledge, you'll discover possible new avenues for your research, you'll pick up the jargon of the discipline(s) you are working with and start to gather keywords and other search terms.

The library has a Reference section on Level 2 that you can browse. However, materials on different topics are located throughout the library, so you may prefer to start with our electronic reference databases. "Reference" is a library term for materials like encyclopedias that have quick answers. Think of Wikipedia, for example. The links below will take you to some of our academic reference databases:

You can also use Wikipedia to gather information. As the graphic above shows, you can use it as a starting place, but don't end up there; your professors typically prefer that you do not cite Wikipedia as a source.