This tutorial will teach you how to use the

college databases for your research & how

to find the MLA (and other styles) citation

for any articles you use.

Use the forward arrows to move through

the tutorial. Be sure to print out the

Certificate of Completion at the end,

and turn in to your professor for lab credit!

If you are a perfectionist and want to

score 100% on the quiz you may take

it as many times as you wish. Just

close out of the tutorial and begin again.

In this context, databases are searchable

online collections of information.

Collin College subscribes to hundreds of

databases, giving you access to millions of

magazine, newspaper and journal articles,

electronic books, streaming videos, streaming

music, art images, and more.

Databases are important because they

provide access to reliable, up to date,

FREE information.

They are available to currently enrolled

students both on and off campus,

24 hours a day.



 A search for "electronic cigarettes" in

Google brings up  90,770,000 MILLION

results - the top couple of links are asking

you to shop for electronic cigarettes.

There are a couple of links to articles, but

we'll try the same search in one of the

college databases later in this tutorial and

see what the difference is.

When we do research we are building

on the works of other scholars.

These authors deserve credit for the work

they have done and so you need to cite

any information you use from another source.

Using other peoples ideas and citing the

sources gives the person reading your paper

confidence that you have taken the time to

become familiar with what other scholars

in the field have discovered.

Sources cited also provides a road-map for

readers who are interested in learning more

about your topic.



The database we are looking at on the right is

called Academic Search Complete.

Academic Search Complete is a good database

to use for almost any topic. Later on, we'll learn

how to search through many databases

provided by this company all at the same time.


The information available in databases is

reliable and free to  students.  By using articles

or information from the databases you will be

"building on the research of others."


One of the biggest problems students

have when using a database is trying

to do a "Google" search!

Library databases are not set up to search

this way...Google is set up to understand

"natural language searches" and answering


Databases don't like questions! Databases like

keywords - with an AND in between keywords...

There are many other ways to limit or expand

search terms (Boolean operators), but we'll leave

that for another day.


The name of the company that distributes

Academic Search Complete is EBSCOhost.

The reason this is of note is that the Collin

College subscribes to over 60 EBSCO


Academic Search Complete (and many

other EBSCO Databases) have a Full Text

Box and a Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)

Journals Box. Each time you do a search

the Full Text box needs to be re-checked!

This is something you should look for when

you open any database. You want to ensure

your results include the Full Text of any


click the Full Text box before

doing a search! There is also an option on 

your results page to limit to Full Text or 

Scholarly Peer Reviewed articles - so don't

worry if you forget to click Full Text before

your search!

Our assignment does not require us to use

Scholarly Peer Reviewed (Refereed) Journal

Articles - all basically the same thing! - 

material so we will leave that box unchecked.

Suppose you want to do some research on

the use of electronic cigarettes. Think

of a question that could be asked about

electronic cigarettes. 

How about, Does the use of electronic

cigarettes lead people to stop smoking 

tobacco products?

Databases can't ignore unnecessary

search terms so putting the entire question

in our search will lead to bad results!

Let's begin with a simple keyword search

for electronic cigarettes.

Click the Full text box and enter

electronic cigarettes in the search box

How many results did you get? Select the number closest to your results as databases add and delete articles daily.

Notice all articles contain a Full Text icon!

That's much better than the 3,120,000

MILLION results Google retrieved and

no one is trying to sell you electronic cigarettes!

Click New Search (at top of page) and

put quotation marks around

"electronic cigarettes"

Now, how many articles do you have? This may be an approximate number. Choose the answer closest to your results.

Using quotation marks tells the database

to only retrieve articles with those terms

together - otherwise it retrieves everything

with electronic AND cigarettes!


Click on the title of the article, "Beliefs

about E-Cigarettes: A Focus Group Study

with College Students."

Under the title is important information

about the article. Hint, because of the recent

concerns about vaping, this article 

has moved to page 26 in your results list. As

of 1/14/2020 it was #252. Vaping has become

such a national problem there are many more

articles being written about smoking & vaping.

This is a good example of research not always 

being easy! Research takes time and can

sometimes be very frustrating!

Look at Source: This is the publication

information about where the article was

originally published.


How many pages is this article?


Do you think this would be a good article to use if you are required to have a 4 page article?


How many authors does the article have?



Notice the Tools on the right side of the

page. (You may have to use the scroll bar

at the bottom of the page!)

In the middle, click the Cite icon.  

How many different Citation Formats are there?


Scroll down to the MLA format.


All English classes use the MLA citation format.


 How would you cite this article in your parenthetical citation?

Go back to your search results. Click

Result List at the top of Citation Format.

Run your mouse over the tiny icon to

the right of a title (looks like a folder

with a magnifying glass) and you get a

description of the article.


Do you think this is a valuable feature?

Look at the Subject Terms in this article.

Click the Refine Search arrow to the

left of Search Results, on top of the title.

Let's remember our original question...Does

the use of electronic cigarettes lead

people to stop smoking tobacco products?

I noticed in the Subject Terms of some

of the articles, the term smoking cessation,

was used.

Let's try a search using "electronic cigarettes"

and "smoking cessation"

How many articles are there now?

Did you remember to click the Full Text box? If not, click it now (on the left side of the page).

Remember we said earlier, the college

subscribes to many EBSCO databases?

Select Choose Databases at the top of

the search box...


You can select a number of EBSCO

databases to search through. I'm going

to choose:

Academic Search Complete
Health Source-Consumer Edition
Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection
Religion & Philosophy Collection


Click OK at the top or bottom of the page.


Enter the same search

"electronic cigarettes" and "smoking

cessation." In this instance, don't click

the Full Text box!

How many articles did your search retrieve? Remember to choose the number closest to your results.

Now click the Full Text box on the left

side of the page (once again, you may

need to click the Results List arrow)

and click update.


Now, how many articles do you have?


There are more articles relating to the

medical and psychological aspects of

electronic cigarettes because it's pulling

from a medical and psychology database.

How are your search results sorted?


Look at the Page Options drop down box




What is the largest number of Results Per Page you can request for your searches?

That would be a valuable choice for

setting up your search results page.

The default number of articles is 10 per

page. We could set this to 50 and it would

help us speed up looking through all these



All EBSCO databases have a Folder feature

in which you can save and store articles on

their server. To use this feature, you would

click the Sign In link at the top of the Home


Unfortunately, If we click it now, it will

take us out of the tutorial. After you print

the Certificate  of Completion you can go

back into the database and click Create

a New Account if you haven't already done

this. Use your personal email address

and you will be able to access your folder

after you leave Collin College or through

your local public library between semesters.

I guarantee you won't receive any email

or advertisements from this company.

At least I haven't in 15 years - hopefully

this will continue!

All you have to do to access your Folder

is to remember to sign in to any EBSCO

database. You can also make sub-folders for

individual projects or classes.

You'll know when you're signed in - notice

the MY above the company logo!

You will also see your first name in the

upper right of the page.

The EBSCO databases have a new feature

called Create Note. If you are signed in

to the database you can add personal notes

to your saved articles.

Click on the title of any article to get the

toolbar menu on the right side of the page.

You can add a permanent note if you

are signed in.

Why do you think using the Folders might be a useful feature?

Look at the article titled "E-cigarette use

in England 2014-17 as a function of

socio-economic profile." (Hint: The

article is #242 in the results list at this

time. Approximately on page 25) There's

a problem with it though. What's the


What is the problem with this article?

Click the Full Text box and update your



Look at the choices for opening an article.

Open the HTML and the PDF versions.

What's missing in the HTML version?

The PDF is a scanned copy of the original

article. The HTML version will read the

article to you in an American, British or

Australian accent - you can also request

the article be translated into many other




Hopefully, you can see the advantage

of using library databases for your research.

You can use Google and Wikipedia for

background information and then use the

databases for credible, reliable and current


You'll put a smile on your professor's face

when they see citations from the library

databases in your works cited page!


Remember, if you need help at any time,

Ask a Librarian!


Don't forget to enter your first and last name

and print out the Certificate of Completion.


Happy Searching!



Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.


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