General article databases are like wide, shallow holes: lots of topics, but not always in depth.
Subject databases are like narrow, deep holes: focused topics, but in depth, comprehensive coverage.
Is your topic general or cross-disciplinary? Currently in the news?
If so, start with a general article database. These cover a wide range of subjects and often include a mixture of popular and scholarly sources. This is often a good place to begin research. Examples of general databases and the kinds of articles they identify are:
Is your topic in a particular subject area?
If so, use a subject database. These databases specialize in a particular subject, and the articles are generally from scholarly sources. Examples of subject database are: