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Communications & Writing Research Guide

This guide is intended to help students in all levels of writing and communications classes - whether you are new to doing research at Bentley or need a refresher!

Suggested Starting Databases

The following are General Databases meaning they cover a number of different topics. These would be a good place to start your research no matter what your topic is.

How Do I Know Which Databases to Use?

Subject Specific, or discipline specific databases, focus on materials published within a specific discipline or topic. These databases often offer additional search options that can be helpful for a specific discipline or ways that you can limit your search that are relevant to the field. For example, some databases let you search by type of study, age group, and more.

To find subject specific databases relevant to your research topic, visit the Databases A-Z page on the library website. Brainstorm your topic and ask yourself the following question: "Which disciplines or subject areas does my topic involve?" to help yourself figure out which subject specific database to select. You can use the filters at the top of the page to help narrow down your choices and use the "i" symbol next to each database to find out what types of content or subjects a database includes to find out if it is right for you.

You can also visit some of our other Research Guides related to a specific discipline or subject areas for suggestions of databases to search:

Tips for Searching in Article Databases

While article databases may vary in interface and "look and feel", most will have similar functionality. The following example is from a search in Academic Search Complete (EBSCO).

Most article databases will feature search boxes separated by the “AND” Boolean operator (AND is usually the default, but you can choose OR or NOT as well). See Search Tips for Searching Library Databases.


Begin by entering your search terms. Remember: the more search terms you use, the more focused your results are going to be.


Also note: you can control where your search terms appear in the documents you search (e.g. “title”, “text”, “abstract”, etc.)


Once you click “Search”, a list of sources will appear with options to limit your results.


1. Number of results returned. Filtering further will make this number smaller.

2. Limit to “Full Text” for only sources you have full-text access to.

3. Limit to “Scholarly Journals” for only sources considered “peer-reviewed”.

4. Limit by “Publication Date” for only sources within a defined date range.

5. Limit by “Source Type” for only sources by a defined type.


Once you select a source from the results, you will be brought to that source’s entry in the database containing the abstract and a link to full-text access if available.


You will also see options for saving this source.

You can:

  • Send to Google Drive.
  • Print the article.
  • Email the article to yourself.
  • Export to a citation management tool.
  • Create a stable URL to access later.

Search Beyond Bentley Library

Google Scholar will allow you to search outside of the library's databases to find information, however not all information you find will be freely available. You can configure Google Scholar to link to Bentley Library's holdings should those articles be available in our collections - visit the Remote Access to Google Scholar research guide for details. 

Google Scholar Search