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Writing About Writing (WAW) for WRI 1/10

Library resources and perspectives for Writing about Writing (WAW)


As a UC Merced student, you have access to many journals and databases.  This video does an excellent job of explaining how journal article information is made available in databases. 

Watch the video below (2:28) and consider the following questions.


  1. What kind of work regularly appears in journals?
  2. What specific information is included in a database about each journal article?
  3. In general, how many articles, journals and databases do you have access to through the library?
  4. Why is searching in a database often easier than searching in a journal?

North Carolina State University Libraries (2:28)

Journals, and the articles in them, are a key resources used in academic studies.  Faculty members regularly publish their research results in scholarly journals.

College Composition and Communication is one example of a scholarly journal. Its focuses on accepting articles from rhetoric and composition studies that will support college instructors in the teaching of writing.  However, the research may also draw from a number of theories and disciplines including race studies and anthropology.

cover page of journal College Composition & Communication

As discussed in the video "From Idea to Library", you can locate articles from journals in library databases. 

A database allows you to search multiple journal titles at once. 

However, sometimes you will not know if a journal is indexed (pointed to) in the databases without some exploration.

If you want to discover if our library has a journal in full-text for the years you want, you can use the library's Journals search. Watch the video below for an introduction. (7:19)


  1. How do you start a search for a specific journal title?
  2. What is important to consider on the search results page?

Sample Writing Journals

These links take you to the library's ejournals.  Note that a journal's contents may be searchable in one or more databases.  Check years of coverage.

Publishing opportunities for undergraduates from a range of disciplines.

Undergraduate Publishing Portal (The Karen Merritt Writing Program)


Databases Point You to Sources

As you heard in the previous video, databases can point to individual journal articles.

An index points to something.

Databases index (aka point, inventory, record, catalog) resources.  

Sometimes databases do more than point to the article, sometime they include the full-text of the article. *Note: Many databases include more than just journal article sources.

Databases Vary in Size and Scope

Some databases index a limited number of journals while others may index hundreds of journals.

Some databases focus on one field study and closely related disciplines.  Other databases may be interdisciplinary -- including articles from multiple disciplines.

Personal Use of Databases

If we search on the web, then we've likely had multiple experiences searching databases.  Searching for a refrigerator at Home Depot or a pair of shoes at Zappos are both examples of using a database to find something. 

various logo from business with databases


Finding & Using Databases Tutorial

Take this tutorial to learn more about databases and how your experience can translate to understanding and using library databases.

graphc for database tutorial


1. Click on the link or logo above to access the tutorial.  Full instructions are on the first page.

  • You will NOT need to be on the campus network to complete this tutorial.
  • This tutorial does include two videos so you may want headphones.
  • At the end, you will be asked to submit your name and email address for a record of your participation.
By the end of the tutorial, you will be able to:
  • describe what a database is.
  • understand the value of library-provided databases.
  • locate suitable databases for your academic research using Subjects & Best Bets.
  • recognize common database features.

Composition Database

Databases (writing, literature, education)

Databases (multidisciplinary)

Discover how to locate databases listed in the library's A-Z Database listing. (1:14) You can narrow down by database subject area, full-text availability etc.