In the "Databases" search box on the library home page use the "Browse by Subject" pull-down menu to access a subject list of databases in your research area OR if you know the name of the database--click on the first letter of that name in the Alphabetic List.
You can also access a page giving you the entire range of electronic resources available via the library's website at: Electronic Resources
Here are some database selection suggestions for your essay assignments:
General & Reference Databases
Besides Wikipedia (which can be used as a "get started" place but is NOT an acceptable authority) reference sources you may want to search for a general overview of your topic are:
Searchable and browsable collection of Encyclopedia Britannica's latest article database, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, the Britannica Book of the Year, and thousands of links to other World Wide Web sites selected by Britannica editors.
Provides the full text of over 200 subject encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and directories.
Reference Universe contains links to over 6000 online encyclopedias and printed specialized subject encyclopedias. Includes back of the book indexes and article titles.
Once you have your keywords and search strategy planned, use a general database such as Academic Search Complete or OmniFile Full Text to enter your search terms and evaluate your search results.
Academic Search Complete/EbscoHost
A multidisciplinary database providing access to more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. It also offers indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 journals. Covers a wide range of academic topics including business, education, social sciences, humanities, science, & engineering. Coverage varies, with some publications going back to 1911.
OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson)
This multi-disciplinary database provides the complete content - indexing, abstracts, and full text - from six of Wilson's full-text databases: Education Full Text, General Science Full Text, Humanities Full Text, Readers' Guide Full Text, Social Sciences Full Text, and Business Full Text. Full-text articles from five additional periodical databases are also included when available: Applied Science & Technology Full Text, Art Full Text, Biological & Agricultural Index, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, and Library Literature & Information Science Full Text. Indexing begins in 1982, abstracts in 1984, and full-text coverage in 1994. Updated daily.
If you think using a subject-specific database would help, go to the "Browse by subject" pull-down database lists in the database box on the library's home page, and search an appropriate subject database.