Choosing a Research Database


General Article Databases

  • Do you need general or cross-disciplinary information?
  • Is your subject something that’s currently in the news?

If you answered yes to either question (or both), start with one of the general article research databases. They are often a good place to begin research because they cover a wide range of subjects and often index a mixture of popular and scholarly sources. Examples of general article databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:

SUMMON Summon is a Google-like tool that searches across the CWRU library collections for scholarly content including books, journals, newspapers, images, databases and more.
ACADEMIC SEARCH COMPLETE Full-text database designed for academic use in many subject areas. Containing full text for more than 4,700 publications and abstracts for all 8,175 journals in the collection. Coverage: 1975–present.
JSTOR Provides electronic, full text access to the back files of approximately 670 scholarly periodicals in a variety of disciplines in humanities, arts and sciences, social sciences, and business.
NEWSPAPER SOURCE Selected full text for 28 national and international newspapers
and contains selected full text for more than 200 regional (U.S.) newspapers.


Subject Databases

  • Are you looking for in-depth scholarly articles for a research paper?
  • Is your topic dealing with a specific discipline like social work, psychology, law, or health care?
  • Are you interested in contrasting how different disciplines explore and analyze a particular issue?

If these are the case, use subject databases. They specialize in a particular discipline, and the articles indexed are generally from scholarly sources. Examples of subject databases and the articles they identify are:

CINAHL PLUS WITH FULL TEXT Indexes the literature of nursing and allied health subjects.
PSYCINFO Provides abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the
behavioral sciences and mental health.
SOCINDEX Indexes abstracts and full text for publications in sociology.


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