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Database Guide

What kind of information is in the databases?

Ebscohost and Proquest have articles from newspapers, magazines, trade publications and scholarly, peer reviewed journals.

Ebrary contains complete books in an electronic format.

My instructor says I need articles from scholarly journals. What are those?

Both Ebscohost and Proquest contain articles from scholarly journals. These journals typically contain articles that include original research and are written by subject experts like doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers or other professionals. These articles are very detailed, lengthy, often written by multiple authors and have a bibliography of cited sources. These journals are also referred to as Peer reviewed or Scientific. Other publications like magazines or newspapers are considered mass media. The writers of mass media articles are typically not experts on the subject matter, the articles are short and can be read and understood by most readers. Trade publications have articles written by and for people in a specific occupation such as nurses or auto mechanics. These journals are not considered to be scholarly.

How do I find scholarly journal articles?

Both Ebscohost and Proquest will allow you to limit your searches to scholarly publications.  Prior to doing your search check off the box labeled Peer Reviewed.

You can also do this after your search by clicking a link to the side of your results that will remove any non-scholarly articles from your search.

Which database should I search?

The following explains the kinds of information available in each database.

For magazine and journal articles


Proquest contains articles from many newspapers, popular magazines, trade publications and scientific or scholarly journals. Proquest will contain information on almost any topic you are considering researching.


Ebscohost has 27 databases on a wide variety of topics. You can search all the databases or choose the ones most appropriate to your research. Depending on your topic good starting points in Ebscohost include Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete, Computer Science and Vocational & Career Collection. There are also several nursing and allied databases including CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, and Alt HealthWatch. 

For e-books

Ebrary e-books

Ebrary contains the full text of 8,000+ books in two subject areas; Nursing & Allied Health and Computers & IT. Ebrary searches within the text of the book. Books can be read online or may be checked out for 14 days after an account is setup. You can print out or save individuals sections, pages or chapters of books. There are no articles in Ebrary.  Access Ebrary through the Proquest search screen.

Some tips for better searching

Use keywords

Search using just the key words that describe your topic.  For example instead of: how does violent video games lead to violence in children just search on the words: violence video games children.

Truncate words to get more citations

In most databases you can search on variations of a word by using an asterisk * at the end of a word. For example child* would search for child, children, children’s, childhood, etc. Teen* would search for teen, teens, teenage, teenager, etc. By using truncation you can search for many words in just once search rather than doing multiple searches.

Use alternate words

Think of words or phrases that have similar meaning. For example in addition to video games you might try computer games or online games or gaming.

Use quotation marks to get fewer articles

If you want to search on a specific phrase or set of words put quotation marks around them for example “violent video games” will only return articles with these three words in this exact order.

Limit your search to full text

Most of the citations in the databases include a link to the complete article but not always.  If you only want to see results that include the full article, check the box labeled ‘Full Text’ before you do your search.

Use advanced search features

Using the advanced search feature in a database will allow you to limit your searches to words appearing in the article title or subject field, this will reduce the number of articles you find and the articles should be more relevant to your research.  You can also limit by publication date or by specific titles such as New York Times or New England Journal of Medicine.

How do get into the databases from my computer?

From off campus go to the CPTC Library webpage.

Under the heading “LIBRARY DATABASES” click on the database you wish to search. If you are off campus you will need to enter a username and password. Contact Library staff for current login information.

Access Ebrary using the Proquest search screen.

Do a keyword search and at the top of the results page click on the tab labeled “ebrary e-books”

How do I get help?

The CPTC librarians are happy to assist you with your research questions; locating articles, identifying scholarly sources, and formatting citations.

Stop by Building 15 anytime the library is open, give us a call, send an email or schedule an appointment.

Pearl DeSure

Get research help anytime with Ask a Librarian

When the library is closed you can get help by using Ask a Librarian. Ask a Librarian is a live chat service available 24 hours a day. Just go to the CPTC Library homepage, click on the Ask a Librarian link, type in your question and you will be connected with a college librarian who can help you. No password required.