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WRT 205: Research Tips and Resources: Choosing Databases

Guide for students in Nicole Moss Underwood's WRT 205 class, Spring 2020

Article Databases

When searching for articles, you may use a general/interdisciplinary database (one that searches all subject areas) or a subject database (one that focuses solely on one subject or related subjects). This guide will show you examples from both types of databases focusing on sample topics for your arts controversy assignment.

Choosing Databases

When selecting a database, ask yourself these questions:

  • What academic discipline does your research fall under?
    • Does it fall under a specific subject like art, education, business?
    • Does it fall under a larger area such as social sciences or humanities?
  • From what perspective are you examining your topic?
    • Are you approaching it from a psychological or educational perspective?
  • What types of documents do you want to retrieve?
    • Are you looking for journal articles, books, conference papers, dissertations, or something else? 

After you have answered the above questions, try any of the following to help determine which databases to search:

  • View the "Top Databases" page on our databases page.
  • Read the description of the database from the library databases page.
  • Try searching all databases provided by particular vendors at once, such as all databases available from ProQuest or EBSCO.
  • Hint! Remember that your research might be interdisciplinary. Try not to rely on just one database, no matter how consistently it provides quality results. Other databases may index journals not indexed by your favorite database.


Syracuse University Libraries provides access to over 600 databases containing articles from various types of sources as well as audio files, images, videos, statistics, maps, and more.

Databases A-Z List

You can browse databases by subject or content type.

Databases by Subject

Databases by Type