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How to Write a Research Paper

A step-by-step guide to writing a research paper.

Find Articles

Databases provide access to magazine, journal and newspaper articles. 

For the best results, choose the article database that most closely "fits" your topic.  

To identify the most appropriate article database for your topic/subject:

  • Go to the Library's Database page.  Select the DATABASES BY SUBJECT pull down bar and choose a subject most appropriate for your topic;
  • See if there is a LibGuide that covers your subject area or topic.

Search strategies will provide you with some database search tips and tricks.

Tools for Finding Databases

Most of the information you need will be found in databases.  LVC's A - Z Database List tools can help you narrow your database choices.  Focus your choices by subject and by the type of information you need, using the pull-downs.

Limit your database search by choosing a specific subject.  Recognize, too, that sometimes your topic will straddle several subject areas (for example, gender wage gap could fall within business and also the sociology).  If this occurs, you can select both subjects, since it's always best to get multiple points of views.


From the A to Z list of databases, focus your search by using the Types filter.  The type filter can be invaluable; it will focus upon databases that contain peer-reviewed articles, scholarly journal articles, case law, magazine articles, books, etc. It is also possible to focus your database search by both the subject AND type!  


We have research guides for almost every major/department on campus.  Each guide has a page linking to the major databases in that field, often with advice on the best databases.

Article Formats

Depending on the database you are using, articles may be displayed in different formats:

Citation.  Includes only the article’s citation information (e.g. author, title, date, volume, etc.). Neither an abstract nor the full-text of the article are available.

Abstract.  Includes the article’s citation information and a brief summary of the article's content--an abstract.

Full-Text.  Includes a full-text copy of the article. The article may be available in HTML format, .pdf format (displays the article as it originally appeared in the magazine with graphics and pictures), or both.