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ENG 101 M. De Jesus-Reyes

Using keywords to search a database

Keywords are very important when it comes to doing research. The better the keywords or combination of keywords, the better your search results will be. 

Now that you have a more refined topic, identify some good keyword combination you can use to search a database:

Next type your keyword combination into a database and do a search:

Suggested Databases

Tips for choosing a database:

1.  If you are still trying to find background or general information about a topic, try a reference database.  The material will typically come from resources like specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries.

2.  Determine what discipline your topic my fall under and then choose a specialized database that focuses on that discipline.  Based on what you know so far, who would you consider to be an expert or most knowledgeable about your topic. A psychologist? Doctor? Historian? Educator?

3.  If you are researching a topic that is controversial or of current interest then you may want to choose one of our databases under Controversial Issues.

4.  If you are having a hard time figuring out what discipline your topic falls under or are simply trying to find as much information about your topic as you can then try our discover service, also known as Search Almost Everything, which will search almost all of our databases at once.

It is very difficult to perform research on a topic if you know little about it.

Consulting a background essay or article on your topic will allow you to:

  • Obtain an accurate and fairly unbiased overview of your topic.
  • Learn the key people, places and organizations involved - and learn the proper spellings of these!
  • Begin to develop an understanding of the topic if it is new to you, or if you have knowledge of the topic, perhaps learn other aspects of it and/or other points of view in relation to the topic.

Important Note!  Do not use these background databases as your main source of materials.  Use them for their intended purpose, to provide introductory information that will help you search other sources more effectively.


General Use databases will provide articles on nearly any topic.

We also offer many other databases that focus on specific topics and academic subjects.  Consult our Articles - JCC Databases page for a complete listing of databases listed by academic discipline or subject area.

If you are having a hard time determining what academic discipline your topic falls under, consider who you think would be an expert or an authority on your topic.  For example, if I'm researching whether violent video games have an effect on childhood behavior then an expert perhaps be a psychologist, a sociologist or perhaps even a early childhood educator.

Use Search Almost Everything to search multiple databases (including ebooks/books) at once.

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Books and eBooks

While you will likely locate many resources for your projects electronically, please remember that as a JCC EDGE student you do have borrowing privileges at the library. You should mention to our staff that you are an EDGE student when checking out books in the event you need to obtain your JCC ID card (which also serves as your library card).

The library offers about 40,000 print books and over 300,000 ebooks!  Use the following links to access them:


If you identify a print book that you wish to locate in the library, you use the call number to locate it on the shelf.

Check the appropriate filters in Search Almost Everything to help limit your search results to just books/ebooks.

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