Databases are online indexes of journal articles and abstracts. Many include full-text journal articles. Some databases also contain book chapters, newspaper/magazine articles, citations for books, and more.
In plain English, a database is what you would use to find articles!
Reading the bibliographies of a good article or book can be very helpful. But how do you find one of the sources listed? Look up the part written in italics.
If your citation looks something like the one below, then it's an article. (Hint: You know it's a journal article if you see volume/issue/page #s.)
Morrow, P. ‘‘Those Sick Challenger Jokes.’’ Journal of Popular Culture. 20.4 (1987): 175-84.
-look up the title of the journal in the OneSource Journal Finder (Note: Look up the journal title, which is in italics, not the "article title," which is in "quotation marks.")
-if the journal is available electronically, you can search within the journal itself or click on the "Full Text Access" link, and check if we have access to the year you need
-if the journal is available in print, read the rest of the journal's record to see if we have the volume/issue you need
If your citation looks something like the one below, then it's a book. (Hint: You know it's a book if you see a city and a publisher/press)
Framing Monsters: Fantasy Film and Social Alienation; Bellin, Joshua David; 2005, Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press.
The words "AND," "OR," and "NOT" can help you make a search more precise. This is called Boolean searching, and it can seem really intimidating, but once you get the hang of them, Boolean searches can really help you!
For example, the search 'films AND psychology NOT children', will return a search with results that contain the keywords 'films' and 'pyschology' but not 'children' - important if you are only looking at adolescent psychology in films.
Learn more with this guide from the MIT libraries. It really helps explain Boolean searching, and you don’t have to be a computer scientist to understand!