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Online Resources: article, reference, and e-book databases: Home

Overviews of online databases the MCC Library provides to current students, faculty and staff. All the databases can be accessed on/off campus. Off campus users will be prompted to enter the 14 digit number from their MCC ID card.

Mott Library Information


All of the databases listed on this LibGuide can be accessed on the Mott campus and at satellite locations. Current students, faculty and staff can also access the databases off-campus.

Be sure to check our A - Z index of databases!  A single list of available databases, and the same list with descriptions of content.

If you have any questions, please contact a reference librarian at (810) 762-0411.

Research! Basic Method for Success

Choose a topic that has some interest or meaning to you personally.  You will be more engaged, and typically, you will have a better final project.  Think "big picture," or a small section of a "big picture."

  • How many resources--journal articles and books, for example--are required for your research project?
  • How many pages minimum do you have to write?
  • What type of paper are you writing?  Informational, argumentative, persuasive?
  • What style of writing are you using? 
    • MLA--great for personal essays, informational, argumentative, and persuasive topics
    • APA--great for objective and fact based writing, such as psychology, health, and science

Use general and specialized encyclopedias to get a broad, basic, and short overview of your topic.  Ask a librarian to help you find these resources in our reference collection and online.  This will help to prepare you for the next step.

TIME MANAGEMENT: 1 or 2 days!  collect information, read, highlight, and brainstorm for focus.

Focus the topic by concentrating on a specific and narrow element from the broad topic.  Now that you have done some background reading, you should have several points of interest that you want to explore further and research with more depth.  Depending on the requirements for your research, you many need to re-evaluate and choose a different focus.

  • Encyclopedia articles provide broad overviews and help to define the topic
  • Encyclopedia articles provide multiple points of interest to narrow the topic
  • Subject related encyclopedias provide more specific information, influential people, important dates, and typically include a bibliography for more in depth research
  • Start a list of key words, phrases, significant people to prepare for the next step

Although it is good practice to have a specific focus for your research, don't be afraid to change direction as you read and research more about your topic.  Researching a topic allows you to control what you are learning.

TIME MANAGEMENT:  2 hours, or more; may need to restart and change focus.

RESEARCH!  You have your focused topic, and have completed your background reading.  You have a list of key words, phrases, people, and events.  Now you are ready to get down to business!  Have you noticed that you are not actually writing your paper, yet?

Use the Library Catalog to look for books on your topic.  When you find a book on the shelf that is pertinent to your research, check the books to the right and left.  They may also be valuable for your research.  Use the following strategies to determine usefulness:

  • Skim the tables of contents.
  • Check the index in the back of the book to see if your keywords, people, or events are mentioned.
  • Libraries have a "serendipitous" nature, that sometimes means giving up technology to explore.
  • You can have 10 books checked out at one time.
  • Ebooks are a possibility.  These are actual published books that are available electronically.

Definitely, ask the librarian for help!  If you are sick you see a doctor.  If your car needs repair you see a mechanic.  If you need to find information you see a librarian.  Librarians are the experts at finding and researching for information.

TIME MANAGEMENT:  1 hour or so to gather the books.  The librarian can help you locate materials that we do not own.  This does NOT include actually reading and analyzing the material.

Library Catalog Search

Use "subject" instead of "keyword" for more specific results.

RESEARCH! You have your focused topic, and have completed your background reading. You have a list of key words, phrases, people, and events. Now you are ready to get down to business! Have you noticed that you are not actually writing your paper, yet?

Use the databases from the Online Resources to gather information from journal articles, magazine or newspaper articles, and ebooks. You will use different databases depending on the topic and the class you are taking. Some databases are like the Meijer and Walmart stores. You can find anything from food to medicine to automotive to lawn products. However, just as there is duplication of products between the two stores, there are also unique brands of items that are available at one store, but not the other. Wouldn't you do some comparison shopping for a big ticket item before you buy it?

To be sure you are getting the best information, use multiple databases. Which databases you use depends on your topic. Ask the librarian to help you. We can save you time and frustration! And check out our available libguides where you will find suggested databases for broad subjects.

  • Search the databases using significant key words and/or concepts.
  • Use the asterisk ( * ) as a wildcard when possible:  teen* will give results on teen, teens, teenager, teenagers.
  • Do not ask a question, or use a sentence to search.  The databases are not that smart.
  • Consider removing the "full-text" limit.  You may be missing the perfect article for your research.  Even if it is not available full-text, the librarian can help you get that article.  Just ask!
  • Closely read the abstract (description) of the article to decide if it will support your research.  It will save you time.

TIME MANAGEMENT: 1 to 4 hours.  Save, print, and email articles of interest.  Gather more than you need, so when you have time you can start reading, highlighting, and making connections between articles and books.

ANALYZE!  You have your focused topic, and have completed your background reading.  You have searched for books and articles using your list of key words, phrases, people, and events.  You have gathered together the tools necessary to complete your research project.  Now the HARD work begins. . .

TIME MANAGEMENT:  Lots of time!!!  From one day to one week.

Read, highlight, take notes, make connections.  Sift, sort, develop, untangle, and thread together the pieces of information.  Imagine a jigsaw puzzle.  If you sort the colors into separate piles you focus your attention and begin to develop a picture.  You will do the same with your research process.  After you have read and sorted through your gathered readings you should have several focused topics under development to complete your project.

READY?  You have gathered together the tools necessary to complete your research project.  You have read, highlighted, sorted and sifted the information.  You have learned some new information about your topic, and maybe found confirmation (or not!) about what you thought to be true.  Now you are ready to bring together all of the pieces, and to start building that picture.

TIME MANAGEMENT:  A day or more.

Develop your thesis statement, and outline the organization of your information.  The Writing Center staff will help to create a logical flow of information.

"When students write essays, they must be concerned with both WHAT they are going to include and HOW they are going to present the information. Doing both at the same time is a challenge. Preparing an outline ahead of time means that the writer can concentrate on how to present his information clearly. The content and the organization of the information (the WHAT of the essay) has already been established in the outline. The writer can then concentrate on HOW to say it in the clearest possible way" (quoted from MCC Writing Center "Outlining").

SET?  You have gathered together the tools necessary to complete your research project.  You have read, highlighted, sorted and sifted the information.  You have drafted a thesis statement, and have organized an outline and can start to see the final product.  Now begins the process of writing and threading together the information into a coherent and readable project.  Develop a writing strategy that works for you. There are many different writing strategies, some will work better for you than others, depending on your learning style.

  • Turn your topic outline into complete sentences and paragraphs.
  • Be sure to have all the quotations and paraphrases properly sourced.
  • Use the appropriate formatting style (MLA or APA) of margins, double spacing, page numbers, etc.  Visit the Library's  MS Office Tips for quick visuals and formatting requirements.
  • Use a citation builder, such as Noodle Tools Express,  to construct individual citations (MLA) or references (APA).

GO!!!  You have read, highlighted, sorted and sifted the information.  You have drafted a thesis statement, and have organized an outline. You have written your first draft, revised and clarified, and have supported your thesis.  You have drafted an introductory paragraph that lets a reader know what your paper is about, and a concluding paragraph that sums up the information and has an effective conclusion.

TIME MANAGEMENT:  Ready to submit?

If you have planned ahead and organized your time, you may still have a couple of days before this project needs to be turned in.  Take a day and relax, "forget about it!" and clear your head.  Come back and read your paper with fresh eyes, and tweak your writing a bit more.  Have the Writing Center staff give your project a final review.  Pull out your syllabus with your research instructions (most faculty are using an objective checklist) and make sure that you have satisfied the basic requirements. 

Check for details that may cost you points:

  • page numbers and headers,
  • margins
  • double-spacing
  • hanging indents
  • properly formatted citations or references,
  • parenthetical citations, quotations, etc.
  • style manual followed-- vs  

Complete your final corrections, save it, and print a clean copy.

Sometimes your professor will ask you to submit an "annotated bibliography," usually as part of the research process - to show that you are working on the project (and not procrastinating until the day before!), and to give you the opportunity to explore what is available, think critically about how it will fit into your thesis, and modify or change your topic as needed.  Below are links to recommended resources to help you develop your annotated bibliography.  Be sure to follow your professor's directions before submitting.

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Reference Librarian

Diana Hiles's picture
Diana Hiles
Mott Community College
Mott Library
1401 East Court Street
Flint, MI 48503
(810) 762-5661

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