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ENGL 100 YAH 50618 with Vincent Fitzgerald 8:10 - 10:15 am - MTW, SUMMER 2022

This Libguide supports students research needs in the summer 2022 ENGL 100 taught by Vincent Fitzgerald *:10 -10:15 am MTW


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).

  • The coverage and depth of Academic Search Complete is so great that it supports every course, and discipline offered at CSM. If researching a psychology topic, the psychology specific database “Psychology and Behavioral Sciences” database will provide more and deeper coverage, yet a student could still successfully write a psychology paper if they only had access to Academic Search Complete.

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.

  • For some of the 100 databases available, the name of the database will match what the content of the database is about. Here are two examples,  “Health Source-Consumer Edition”, and “Business Source Elite”. If you guessed that the first database will be useful for a health/medical topic and that the second database would be use for a business topic, you’d be absolutely correct!
  • When the name of a database doesn’t mean anything to you, skip it for now. For example, the database JSTOR has very high quality and great coverage of the humanities and social sciences. But if you don’t remember what it covers, just skip it for now and follow TIP #1 which is to use Academic Search Complete. As a student advances and gains more and more experience, by all means learn what JSTOR is and use it. But don’t over burden yourself at the beginning.