Research Databases

These databases can be accessed anywhere in your school or from home by asking your school librarian for the user name and password.

Database Trials

Below is the Database Trial schedule. For each month it includes a database for Elementary/Middle School and a database for High School. Prior to the trial period, Abigail will email everyone with the username and password info. If you would like to suggest other databases, extend a trial, or begin a subscription, please contact Abigail. Click on the database names below to redirect to the trial login during the trial period.



February is Black History Month and you will find a wealth of material in this excellent database. From the landing page, choose a time period to study such as the Antebellum period, the Civil Rights Era, or the the New Millennium. Have students head to the left side bar’s “Topic Center Library” to choose a topic from the Reference Articles section. Students can then research background topics- for example, in the Antebellum period: the cotton gin, marriage for slaves, plantations, slave resistance, and so on. After all students or student groups presents their topics to the class using a posterboard, slide presentation, skit etc, the class will have a better understanding of all the facets of life in that era. Students will then be prepared for a more in-depth look at narratives and other primary sources or the “Perspectives” discussion topics in the Analyze section (available in many but not all of the time period modules). ABC-CLIO allows students to save their articles to a Google Drive or Google Classroom, and includes useful citation, translation, and audio tools. Students will be able to find photos, charts, quotes, and more to use in their presentations and papers by exploring the Media and Documents sections of the left side bar’s “Topic Center Library.” This database can be purchased on its own for under $400 with increased savings when bundled with other products.



For extensive primary sources on life in America between the Colonial Era and the Civil War, explore this collection from EBSCO. These historical archives are rich with the kinds of dialog and scenery details that make historical periods come alive for students. Unlike some of the primary source collections we took a look at previously, everything in EBSCO is searchable which means that you can do more than browse around for a document loosely fitting the era or topic of interest, but rather discover specific documents that would support a research paper. EBSCO is conducting a sale right now on these archives- it is $500 for this collection with an annual renewal fee of $250 with no price increases.


This set of teaching resources is great for ES/MS classroom teachers or library programs. Take a look at the list of kits they offer and see if any of these titles are used as classroom books in your school. You can encourage the classroom teacher to subscribe to these kits or offer to host a media-rich learning experience in the library to enhance students’ understanding of what they’re reading in the classroom. Each of their kits comes with in-depth guides for student projects and activities, discussion prompts, academic handouts and info on standards alignment. You can view the complete Little House kit here (and make sure to scroll down to the Handouts section to see the info on standards and more formal lesson worksheets) and see what they’re all about. You can buy these kits individually ($18/ea), subscribe for 9$ monthly and pick one kit each month, or buy kit bundles (bundles of 3, 5, 10, and 12 are available and get cheaper the more you buy).


How to Research

Learning how to research increases critical thinking, helps prepare for higher education and the workforce, and drastically improves the overall quality of your work.


Research Guides
CRLS Research Guide Basic Steps in the Research Process
ipl2 for Teens A+ Research & Writing: Step by Step
Kentucky Virtual Library How to Do Research
Duke University Libraries Research Guide

Evaluating Your Sources

Not everything we find in print and electronic format are appropriate sources of information. Three examples that illustrate this point are:


1.) Inappropriate Types of Sources
If you were writing a paper about Mount Kilimanjaro, you would not cite an article about pitcher R. A. Dickey’s recent expedition in Sports Illustrated.
2.) Obsolete Information
A book published in 1980 about laser surgery will not provide you with sufficiently useful data on this procedure the way it is implemented today.
3.) Misleading or Amateur Authors
Some people think they are experts when in reality they are not qualified to publish certain materials. Other people purposely publish misleading and/or false information in the name of a political or other type of motivation.

How do we avoid using these improper sources? Train yourself to question everything you read, view and hear. Try exploring any of these links to see why and how you should be critical:
Purdue University Online Writing Lab Evaluating Sources: Overview
University of California Berkeley Library Critical Evaluation of Resources
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center Evaluating Print Sources
Cornell University Library Critically Analyzing Information Sources
University of Georgia Online Library Learning Center Unit 9: Evaluating Sources

Citing Your Sources

Citing your sources or references is of the utmost importance- how else can you prove that the information you are using is true?


The two main styles of citation used in schools are MLA and APA format. Typically, every school district only uses one of these two styles. Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) provides a wealth of information about both APA and MLA formatting:

APA Formatting and Style Guide
MLA Formatting and Style Guide
MLA Citation Basics, 7th Edition (.pdf)

Still a little confused about where that comma goes or what needs to be capitalized? Enlist the aid of these free online citation generators:

Points of View

Biography Reference

Academic Research

Science Reference

Explora Primary

Explora Secondary

Primary Magazines

Middle Magazines

Business Guides

History Reference

Novelist K-8


Literary Reference

Teacher Reference

Reference Latina

These resources are provided by the State Library of New Jersey to members of the BELS Consortium