Information Literacy Unit — Activity 3

  • Intro Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Activity 5 Activity 6 Activity 7

    Activity 3:  Research Databases / Digital Research Resources / Online Resources

    Activity 3:  Locating information in research databases, also known as digital or online resources

    After print (books) and electronic resources (ebooks), your school's subscription databases should be your next step in your research.

    • You will use the keyword search strategy to search for periodicals (newspapers or magazines) in one of the purchased online databases owned by the school.  These resources are not available on the general search engines but are often better resources than others located through a general search engine.  They include no advertising and are authoritative, current, and accurate. You can also find peer-reviewed articles that have already been evaluated by at least two editors/peers prior to publication.
    • You will have the opportunity to determine the best article from a list of returned "hits".  Look at the list of titles and see if any appear to be related to your topic.  If the title seems vague, you may have to open up the article and read a few lines or look for the keywords. 
    • You will select the best article for your research by identifying the keywords in the context of the article.  Note that some of the databases highlight your keywords in the body of the article.  By looking at the number of times the keywords appear and if they appear at the beginning or end of the article helps determine if the article is useful.

    Sometimes magazine or newspaper articles can be lengthy.  Before printing, check to see if the database offers a clean copy for printing. For the purposes of this assignment, we will download the article to your research folder.


    Sometimes it is helpful to find where and how often your keywords appear in your information.  Some databases highlight your keywords but if they do not, or if you want to add another word inside the article, then you can use this trick.

    • Using your keyword search strategy, locate one article in one of the subscription databases.
    • Open the article.
    • Press the "Ctrl" key and hold it while you press the "F" key.
    • A "find" box will appear at the top of your article where you can enter a word.
    • If the word you are searching for appears in the article, it will be highlighted.  It may appear more than once. 

    A take-home gift for you

    Be sure to ask the librarian for a bookmark with the passwords for the school's research databases so you can access these resources from home. Because we purchase these databases for our students’ use, passwords must be used off-site for legal reasons.

     You are now ready to begin your activity.

    1. Open a new internet window or tab each database.  Locate the databases entitled EBSCOhost & Arizona State Library Databases Gale from the library databases page.  We may use a different database, depending on the selected topic.
    2. Locate one article from the database using the keyword search strategy on your worksheet that you believe is appropriate to your search.
    3. For this assignment, email the EBSCOhost article and paste MLA 8.0 citation to your Bibliography/Works Cited.
    4. Then, choose a Gale database and download an article; then paste MLA 8.0 citation into your Bibliography/Works Cited.  (Optional:  We may download the article directly into Google Docs with your student Gmail account.)

    You are now ready to move on to Activity 4:  Citing a Source