Research databases are organized collections of computerized information or data such as periodical articles, books, graphics and multimedia that can be searched to retrieve information. Databases can be general or subject oriented with bibliographic citations, abstracts, and or full text.
Databases are NOT search engines. There is a difference!
Before you begin to search the databases, it is important that you develop a well planned comprehensive search strategy. Determine what your keywords are and how you want them to link together. Always read the help screens and review any tutorials that have been developed for a particular database.
After you determine what your keywords are, consult any subject headings or guides to locate controlled vocabulary such as a thesaurus that may appear in the subject field.
Use the summaries that appear for with many of the articles to give you an overview and understanding of the article, words and phrases you can also use to search and to determine if this is an appropriate article for your topic.
Boolean searching is one of the basic and best search strategies that is used by most online databases.