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Research 101: Using Library Databases to Find Scholarly Sources

Posted 9 months ago by Rebecca S

Posted in Business and Investing, Education, Fiction, Graphic Novels and Poetry, History and Politics, Nonfiction and Research and Resources | Tagged with articles, database searching, Databases, educational tools, library databases, library resources , peer reviewed articles, research databases, research tools, scholarly sources and student research

What does "scholarly source" mean?

Often, teachers will limit the sources you are allowed to use to "scholarly sources", but what does this mean? To be scholarly, a source has to:

  • Be written by experts in a particular field.
  • Thoroughly cite all source materials.
  • Be subject to "peer review" prior to publication.

Sorry, Wikipedia, that means you're out...

Lucky for library cardholders, research with the Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) is now easier then ever before. By utilizing our RESEARCH option on the homepage, library users can explore a world of databases that offer appropriate, scholarly resources fit for use in class assignments.

*Helpful Hint: You will need your Library Card # and Pin # to access library databases and the full-text of articles from the library catalog. If you don't know these numbers, call you local branch or stop by Customer Service when you're in next to update your account.

How do you access the Library's Research Databases?

There are three options a library cardholder can use to access the library's subscription databases.

Option One:

If you know the name of the database you want to use, or the assignment dictates which one you have to use, simply type the name into the big red box on the TLCPL homepage.  

Academic Search Premier - screenshot 1 - research 101 blog post


When the search results appear, scroll down until you see RESEARCH TOOLS and select the red ACCESS NOW button to be taken to the database of your choice.

Research Tools - screenshot 2 - research 101 blog post

Option Two:

If you're not sure what database would be best to use - try browsing by topic on our RESEARCH page. 

Where's the RESEARCH page? You'll find a link to it on the TLCPL homepage in the menu options.

Research Option  2 - screenshot 3 for research 101 blog post

Once at the RESEARCH page, scroll down a bit until you see a listing of topics like "Biography and Genealogy" or "Literature and Reading."

popular research options - screenshot 4 - research 101 blog post

This will take you to a list of popular options. Select FIND A TOOL under the appropriate choice.

find a research tool - screenshot 5 - research 101 blog post


Select the ACCESS NOW button under the database of your choice.

database options - screenshot 6 - research 101 blog post


Option Three:

The third option available is through the library CATALOG, which is accessible from the menu options at the top of the library homepage

research using library catalog - screenshot 7 - research 101 blog post


The CATALOG will default to a library materials search, so select the ARTICLES tab before starting your search.

find articles in the library catalog - screenshot 8 - research 101 blog post

The populated results will be articles related to your keyword search. Use the limiters on the left side of the results screen to further limit the search results. 

  • Full Text: Is exactly as it sounds - you'll be able to access the full text of the article.
  • Peer Reviewed: Is exactly as it sounds - this will limit your search results to include only "peer reviewed" articles.
  • Subject: Select the plus sign to display the related subjects and further limit your search results (ex: Criticism). 
find full-text and peer reviewed articles using the library catalog - screenshot 9 - research 101 blog post


When you find an article you're interested in, select the title for more information. If you're not on a TLCPL computer- this is when you'll be asked to provide your library card number and pin number. Once you have entered your library card number and pin number, you will have access to the full text (if provided), by selecting the FULL TEXT link on the left.

locate the Full-Text options for articles - screenshot 10 - research 101 blog post

Remember: You will need your Library Card # and Pin # to access the Full Text of most of these articles. If you don't know these numbers, call your local branch or stop by Customer Service when you are in next to update these numbers.

Also Remember: Not all articles in the search results will be FULL TEXT. So if this is something you need ASAP, use the FULL TEXT limiting link on the left.

Still have questions?

Stop by your local branch to ask a Librarian for help or give us a call at 419.259.5200 for further assistance.

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