1. Websites must be evaluated
Many of the databases we subscribe to come from a company called EBSCO. EBSCO "hosts" many different databases, and cover a wide range of disciplines. It gets confusing because a lot of the databases look the same, but EBSCO is actually just the publisher. While each EBSCO database covers different subject matter, indexes different publications, and includes its own unique features, they all work very similarly. So if you can use one, you can figure out how to use them all!
Note: Many of these tools do not include the full text of articles, just abstracts or citations. For help getting the full articles, contact me or see this page. If you want to make sure that you only retrieve scholarly articles in your search, click the Academic Journals link that appears at the top of the left sidebar next to your search results:
Search Screen: All the EBSCO databases will start you out at the Advanced Search screen, which will have 3 search boxes and lots of other ways you can limit the results. Start by identifying 1-3 keywords or phrases that describe your search, and put one word/term in one search box, one in the second box, etc. If you try to put all your words in one box, you might not get a very good search! Just leave the drop down menu as "Select a Field", which will look for your word or phrase as a keyword anywhere. Later, if you need to refine your search you can try choosing other options from the menu, like Subject or Title.
Limiting Your Search: Each database has different ways to limit your search. Take a look at the Advanced Search screen to see your options. For instance, you might see ways to limit by date, by type of publication (scholarly vs. non-scholary), or by other discipline-specific criteria (i.e., grade level in ERIC, taxa in Biological Abstracts, etc.). Start off with few limits and add more if you feel your results are not what you need.
Getting the Articles: Some of the EBSCO databases will give you a lot of full text articles right there (Academic Search Premier), while others will only give you abstracts (America: History and Life). If you see a link that says "PDF Full Text" or "HTML Full Text", you can just click on those to open the entire article. If you do not see those, you may still be able to get the article from another database. See these directions for more, or contact me for help.
More: EBSCO has some excellent help information available online, or you ask me for help.