Databases are a great place to start online research. A database is a huge collection of resources that have been grouped together to serve a need. For example, Academic Search Premiere is a great place to begin general research, particularly for 1000-2000 level courses. ProQuest is another useful database for general research topics and goes more in depth than Academic Search Premeire. Other databases are more specific, such as PubMed which offers resources on medicine and related topics.
The contents of a database vary depending on the topic. They might include journals, newspapers, art collections, or other materials. To find databases that best fit your research question, check the research guide for your field, ask a librarian, or search the database listings.
Academic journals publish collections of articles on a regular basis. They are different from magazines in that they are often peer reviewed, meaning that experts in the field checked each other's work before publishing. Each journal typically only publishs articles that on a specfic topic. If you are researching a specific topic and know of well-respected journals in your field, these publications might be a good place to check. If you need to find the names of relevant journals, ask a librarian, ask your instructor, or use the journal search feature on the library website. You might also check the research guide for your field and see if they have a page about finding articles. These pages will link to subject specific journal articles.
Searching only one journal at a time can be useful, but usually you should start your research by checking many journals at once using a database.
Lean Library is a browser extension that lets you take the library's online resources with you. If you are searching the general web for resources rather than the library's site, Lean Library will let you know if a resource you are looking at is available through OU libraries, or will directly link you to the ILL page (check out the Don't Buy It, Borrow It page in this guide to learn more about ILLs!). This helps you to avoid paywalls as you browse the web.