The College of San Mateo library buys access to more than 100 different online databases of high quality reliable content. Choosing which database to use for a specific assignment can be challenging even for a seasoned student. Here are three powerful tips that your students can use.
TIP #1: When unsure of which database to use, begin your work in Academic Search Complete (it covers all subjects).
TIP #2: Know the three databases of persuasive (argumentative) content. You will need them for ENG and Communications classes. They are also excellent for choosing & selecting a topic for other courses.
Assignments requiring the production of a work of persuasion or argumentation (for ENG, COMM) are common. Two excellent databases specialize in providing editorial content: Opposing Viewpoints, and SIRS Issues Researcher, and Gale In Context: College. All of these are fact-filled, statistically rich databases the focus on providing editorial (persuasive) content. Students can quickly browse through hundreds of pre-assembled coherent bundles of content each grouped around a specific topic such as Adoption, Activism, Food Security, etc. In addition to browsing, simple key word searches work well in these database. The browsing function makes these databases an excellent place to exploring and choosing a research topic. Inside these databases, one knows immediately if a specific topic has good coverage and ample content to use.
TIP #3: Look at the names of the databases; for some the name matches the subjects covered within and the potential fit of the DB to your needs.