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Composition I and II: ENC 1101/1102

This guide includes resources for students doing research for Composition I & II and an overview of the research process.

The Basics

Database: A searchable electronic catalog that contains information (and sometimes full text) about articles found in periodicals, reference sources, and e-books. FGCU Library has some general, multi-subject databases and some that focus on specific subjects.

Periodical: Any publication issued at regular intervals (periodically). This includes magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and scholarly or peer-reviewed journals.

Journal: A type of periodical.  Journals often contain scholarly articles written by experts and are documented with citations and bibliographies (or reference lists). 

Peer-reviewed journal: A special type of journal.  Peer reviewed (or refereed) journals have been reviewed by a panel of subject experts who scrutinize articles for significance, relevance, sound research design, accurate presentation, and clarity before they are accepted for publication.

Sometimes, your instructor will require that you use scholarly journals or get articles from peer-reviewed journals. Of course, be sure to ask your instructor if you aren’t sure. They’ll be glad you did—and so will you. Here are some resources you might find helpful:

Finding Articles in Databases

The Wilson G. Bradshaw Library has almost 400 databases with articles from popular and scholarly periodicals.

The following multi-subject databases are good to start with for almost any topic. Watch a 2-minute video on database searching basics if you want some help getting started.

See can also see the full list of all Multi-Subject Databases.

Subject Databases

Many times, especially during your first year, general databases will meet most of your research needs. Sometimes, however, you might need to search in more specialized subject databases. Here's what you should know:

  • You can get to all of our databases through our Databases page. View by subject or title or do a search for a database. 
  • Each database searches a different set of publications, often on a specific subject.
  • Many of the functions of the databases are similar, but they have different interfaces or looks. They do a lot of the same things, but tools and controls are in different places, for example.
  • Librarians have done some of the work for you and created subject-specific Research Guides with database explanations and recommendations.
  • Our massive list of databases can get overwhelming—Ask a Librarian if you want help choosing the right one or navigating a search.

Database Searching Tips

  • Remember to try synonyms and different word combinations in your search.
  • Once in your results list, look beyond the first 10 or go beyond the first page—some really good articles could be lurking there.
  • You might end up emailing yourself a lot of articles. Set up a folder in your email dedicated to your class or to your specific project. This way, you won't lose track of your sources.
  • Even better: Set up a RefWorks account and keep track of all your articles' citations.

Going Beyond Google


Q: Why can’t I just use Google? I already know how to use it.

A: Well, you could. But…

  • A Google search will turn up thousands—even millions—of results for you to sift through, many of which aren’t relevant or credible. Sure, Google Scholar is an option, but you might as well use FGCU Library resources, which will ensure that the results you find are reliable and available to you. And they're FREE!
  • For the most part, searching the Library’s resources is as easy as a Google search. There are some extra bells and whistles you can learn if you want to be even more efficient, but you can start by typing in your subject and clicking Search. Does this process sound familiar?
  • You’re in college now. Professors will expect a certain level of academic research, sometimes from scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. Be the student who impresses your instructors. Get better grades. Make your parents happy. All from using a credible database.
  • The full array of the FGCU Library’s resources is available to you now, as a student. Not everyone can access our resources; you should take advantage of the information you have available to you while you have it.
  • You will learn researching skills that are likely to help you in any job field (anyone can Google, but can they perform a targeted search in a specialized database?). Plus, you will learn cool things that make excellent party conversation.