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Phi Theta Kappa/Alpha Theta Phi - Honors in Action: Databases


Keyword suggestions

For Theme 1, The Heirs of Our Ways:

  • infants AND neuroscience

What is a database?

Basic Definition

A database is a collection of information, organized in such a way as to be easily accessible. Databases are usually electronic (i.e., library databases), and the information in them may be in any format, including print, electronic, graphic, and audio. They may be free (containing open access materials) but many  cost money to access.

Library Research Databases

The library subscribes to hundreds of  databases. Many of these databases are collections of articles that were originally published in print magazines, newspapers, journals and reference books. Other databases include collections of biographical material (i.e., Biography In Context), collections of electronic books (i.e., Gale Virtual Reference Library,Credo Reference,ebrary), and collections of company profiles (i.e., Business Source Premier). To login when off-campus, use your LIVE@LaGuardia email login without @live.lagcc... for your login. This is probably your firstname.lastname.For your password, use your eight-digit CUNYfirst ID and the last two digits of the year you were born.

Identify Search Terms

To do a proper search using library resources, you will need to search using keywords.

Once you have your topic decided upon, it is now time to brainstorm some keywords.  For this example, your topic is "In societies in which every participant gets a trophy, how do you introduce healthy competition and the idea that there are winners and losers?"

First we'll break it down into the main ideas (also known as keywords). In this example, you may choose trophy, competition, winners, and losers as your keywords. 

Now, let's take each of those and come up with as many synonyms (or at least related ideas) as we can.

Trophy - prize, ribbon, medal, etc.

Competition - contest, challenge, athletics, sports, participants, etc.

Winner - First place, champion, victor, etc.

Loser - Last place, failure, disappointment, etc.

Finally, we simply combine any of our terms using the word AND.

Example:  trophy AND participants AND competition

You can even add more keywords by adding another AND.

Example: prize AND sports AND "first place" AND "last place" 

Notice I put quotation marks around a multi-word phrase - doing so locks in those terms to be searched in the exact order they are typed.  For additional search tips, please see the box below.

Two-Minute Videos: Video Guides to Help You Use the Library

General Databases

These databases will give you full-text free access to published articles (many that are ordinarily behind a paywall):

Issues Databases

Lots of pro/con essays and issue overviews here. 

Education Databases

Library Media Resources Center
LaGuardia Community College
31-10 Thomson Avenue, room E101
Long Island City, NY 11101
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