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8th Grade English Prejudice Research: Databases

Materials, tips and links to resources to help you research the time period for To Kill A Mockingbird

eBook Pathfinder

The African American Eras eBook in GVRL is a great resource for your topics.  Follow these directions to access this eBook.

1. Click on the GVRL icon in the yellow box below.

2. Click Proceed button.

3. Select Multicultural Studies link on the left side of screen.

4. Click on the first book cover - African American Eras

5. Search all volumes of this eBook in the search box at the left.

NOTE:  When doing multiple searches, make sure below your search box says "all volumes" so that you are searching the entire set of African American Eras.  If it says "search within results" you are limiting your search too much.

You can also access the GVRL eBooks from a mobile device using the mobile app described in the General Information box on the right of this page.

USEFUL ARTICLES: These are some useful articles from the African American Eras eBook you can search for.

GALE Virtual Reference Library eBooks

Collection of Reference eBooks -   great resource for any topic!

Click the link above.

  • SEARCH:  all eBooks using the Search box at top of page
        *OR Click on book cover to search specific eBook. 
  • Citation information is at the top of chapter/section.

Choosing Keywords for Online Searching

KEYWORDS: You need to identify the best keywords to type into a database or Internet search engine.  Choosing keywords is a skill that is practiced and improved over time.  

Good keywords -- will give you -- Good results

Taking the time to think about the best choices for keywords will save you A LOT of TIME.  View the video to the right titled Database Keyword Strategies to learn/review how to generate/combine effective keywords for database or Internet searching.


Ideas for Keywords for my searches:

My topic - What words best describe your topic; Think about synonyms as well; Are these keywords a well-known phrase that can be put in quotes?

Related topics - Might lead to articles on possible thesis points

Issues related to topic - Might help you to locate more detailed or specific articles

People or Organizations related to topic/issues - Might lead to more detailed  or possible thesis point articles

Locations/events related to topic/issues - Might lead to more detailed  or possible thesis point articles

 How can you combine some of your keywords to create a more specific or targeted search?

Choosing Databases for Your Research

Choosing the appropriate databases for your research topic is a skill that can make your research more efficient and take less time (A GOOD THING!)


There are 2 main kinds of article databases, based on the type of articles they contain. 



1. Reference article databases:(A GREAT place to start)

Reference articles are useful when you are beginning your research and don't know a lot about your topic.  They provide a topic overview and background.  They are valuable in helping you begin to understand your topic, relationships between your topic and other areas, and in refining your research keywords.


Our general reference article databases include:

Cavendish Square Digital
EBSCO databases*

Facts on File databases
InfoTrac Student Edition*
SIRS Discoverer*
World Book (Kids, Student, Advanced)
Gale Virtual Reference Library (our reference eBooks)

*these databases are Multi-Content databases which also contain reference articles



 2. Multi-Content article databases (contain Magazine, Newspaper, Journal, and Reference      articles):

 Multi-Content article databases are usually very large databases and contain different types  of articles - from magazines, newspapers, journals and/or reference sources.  These  databases are a good initial source to search if you look at the reference articles they contain, or once you have some background on your topic.  It's important to identify the TYPE of the article you find and use as the article type is needed for your citations.

Our Multi-Content article databases include:

EBSCO databases*
InfoTrac Student Edition*
Research in Context
Science in Context
SIRS Discoverer

*these databases are Multi-Content databases which contain reference articles

Database Searching and Features

Database Searching:

Database searching can be challenging.  Each database has a different search screen, and there are so many types of articles and subjects in multi-content databases.  Finding that great, useful article can be tricky.  Make sure you have followed the tips on choosing appropriate databases and good keywords above!

Database Features:

 Reviewing the videos to the right: Database Features - Review and Database Features - New - Subject Search and Virtual Folders,  and then using the database features described below can make your database searching SO MUCH easier and quicker!  Databases are a great resource for good, reliable information - use these features to get to just the right articles for your needs!

1. Full-text:  Using this feature removes any results that are just summaries/abstracts of the article and not the full article.  For middle school, we really want the full articles.


2. Sort by: Sorting your results list REORDERS the list in different ways.

  • Sort by Date ( Descending or Ascending) can reorder your list to put the most recent articles on top or the oldest articles on top.
  • Sort by Relevance puts the articles most closely related to your keywords at the top of the list.  These articles should be the most relevant or useful to you.


3. Limit by (Content) Type: This feature limits your results to a specific type of article, such as magazine or newspaper or journal or reference.  It is EXTREMELY useful in helping you identify the type of your article so you can fill in the citation information correctly for Name of Source and  Type of Source fields on your notesheet and in NoodleTools.  Also, magazine articles tend to be longer and more in depth than newspaper articles, and journal articles are more detailed and targeted to people involved in that particular field.  Knowing this and the type of article can help reduce the amount of searching you need to do.


4. Narrow by Subject: Every article in a database has subject "tags" associated with it.  Most databases will display those subjects at the top of the article.  This feature limits your results to articles on a particular subject that you select.  This is a great feature for reducing your results list A LOT, and getting to articles that are primarily on your topic and so would tend to be very useful.


5. Virtual Folders: This feature helps you organize the articles you find as you are searching.  You can "store" the articles you want to go back and save/email/read later into your "virtual folder."  Once you are done searching that particular database, you can go to your virtual folder and review your stored articles.  From the virtual folder you can delete any articles you no longer want, or email/save all the articles at one time.  It's a great organizational tool!  Note: Once you leave the database, your virtual folder is emptied.


6. Subject Search: This feature is useful if you are not exactly sure about keywords for your topic or are unfamiliar with the content of the database.  You can type in a subject into the Subject Search feature and get back a list of all related subjects for articles in the database.  By selecting one of these related subjects, you can then see a results list of all articles on that particular subject.  

General Information

 Username/passwords are needed if accessing these databases from home. (Refer to your student assignment pad on page 21 or ask Media Center staff.)

Articles from these databases can be printed out (at home), saved on your personal drive (My Documents) or a flash drive, or e-mailed home.

Access My Lib app

Database Keyword Strategies

Database Features - Review

Database Features New - Subject Search and Virtual Folders