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English Teaching Secondary: Articles/Databases

General vs. Subject Databases

General databases are also considered multi-disciplinary databases, meaning they provide information for many subject areas. Examples of some general databases through NSU are ABI Inform, Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, MasterFile Premier, OmniFile Full Text Mega, Opposing Viewpoints in Context, ProQuest, Salem Press Titles, or WorldCat. These databases provide a starting point for research, especially when working with a variety of topics.

Subject databases are designed to provide information for a particular subject area. For example, Communication & Mass Media Complete, MLA International Bibliography, Humanities Full Text, Literature Resource Center, Something About the Author, ERIC, or Education Full Text.

When searching for information, try using the general databases as well as those in your subject area. See the below link to the NSU Libraries Articles and Databases by Subject for a complete listing of databases, both general and by subject.

Database Search Tips

  1. Be prepared with synonyms in case your original search produces no results. If the database offers a link to a thesaurus or subject terms tab, use it to locate additional or related words for your search terms.
  2. Pay attention to search tips or help screens provided by each database. Take the time to learn how to use the tool - it will help you to avoid frustration!
  3. Remember that most databases allow for Boolean Searching (see the video in this guide). Use and to narrow, or to expand, not to exclude. Truncation is also useful for bringing back all relevant results. For example, type counsel* to bring back documents containing the words counsel, counseling, counselor...
  4. Review the database search screen for a Thesaurus or Subject Terms tab or link.
  5. Review articles, the references with this article, look for sections listing key words or subject terms, and relationships to your focus on the topic.


Depending on the database, it may offer a variety of ways to limit your results:

  • Full Text
  • Scholarly or Peer Reviewed
  • Publication  or Document Type (journal articles, book reviews, reports)
  • Published Date

For articles that are not available in full text, use the InterLibrary Loan service.

Suggested Key Words

Each database uses controlled subject headings. When searching, combine or group terms using the Boolean operator "AND" to refine your search string: writing evaluation AND English instruction or try the search string: writing processes AND teaching methods AND secondary. Check to see if it offers a Thesaurus or a Subject Terms tab. For instance, in ERIC,  choose the Thesaurus tab and in the Browsing box enter terms to see how the database recognizes them:
"writing centers" would be "laboratories; writing (composition)"
"writing development" would be "writing (composition)".
Additional subject headings include writing instruction, writing strategies
English instruction, English curriculum.

Selected Databases

To support your academic research and course work, see the selected databases listed below. They include a mixture of general and subject and offer peer-reviewed articles as well as additional periodical formats. NOTE: for remote access to search subscription databases, you may be prompted to enter your NSU userID and password.

For a complete listing of the databases offered through the NSU Libraries organized by subject or listed alphabetically visit:

Periodical Titles

The following six publications and others are available online via the NCTE website. To locate the John Vaughan Library's (Tahlequah) print version, use the Advanced Search option through the Library Discovery system and search by title, set limiters for format to journal and library to Northeastern State University. The catalog record has the Access online option available for the electronic version. 

  • English Education (print call number, LA 632.E52)
  • English Journal (print call number, PE 1.E5)
  • English Leadership Quarterly (print call number, LB 1620.5 .C776)
  • Language Arts (print call number, LB 1576.A1E6)
  • Research in the Teaching of English (print call number, PE 1065.R373)
  • Voices from the Middle (print call number, LB 1631.V65)

Additional titles about books and book reviews:

  • Kirkus Reviews (online)
  • American Book Review (ABR) -search the database Academic Search Premier by publication title or online at
  • The New York Review of Books (print call number, AP2.N655 or online at