Google Scholar (beta version)
Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. NOTE: Unlike a library database, many sources found in Google Scholar require payment before providing full text.
Google Books allows you to search within the text of millions of books. A great way to discover books and other publications that you might otherwise miss.
These are by no means the only databases that you might find useful for your thesis, but they represent good starting points.
Try These First:
FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Plus
Publisher description: [I]ndexes more than 300,000 articles from 300 of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals, dating from 1972 onward. The database also incorporates the International Index to TV Periodicals; Treasures from the Film Archives, which identifies silent film holdings in archives around the world, and the International Directory of Film/TV Documentation Collections. Includes full text access to selected journals.
Communication and Mass Media Complete
Especially useful if you are doing research in media studies. Communication & Mass Media Complete provides indexing and some full text for journals in areas related to communication and mass media. CMMC incorporates CommSearch (formerly produced by the National Communication Association) and Mass Media Articles Index (formerly produced by Penn State) along with other journals.
MLA International Bibliography
Especially useful if your thesis has a strong interdisciplinary or theoretical component. Produced by the Modern Language Association, this database indexes critical scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Coverage includes journals, series, monographs, dissertations, bibliographies, proceedings, and other materials.
Academic Search Complete
Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 5,300 full-text periodicals, including 4,400 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 9,300 journals and a total of 10,900 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. The database is updated daily and features PDF content going back as far as 1865, with the majority of full-text titles in native (searchable) PDF format. Searchable cited references are provided for nearly 1,000 journals.
Good for full-text access to many key journals, but you should also search in discipline-specific databases to ensure that you are not missing anything. JSTOR, the Journal Storage Project, provides access to digitized versions to complete runs of key scholarly journals in the arts, the humanities, literature, the sciences, the social sciences, and selected scholarly journals in related disciplines such as business, ecology, botany, music, and statistics. JSTOR represents the building blocks of a truly interdisciplinary scholarly journal archive.
Provides access to scholarly journals published by major university presses. Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and many others.
Web of Science (ISI Citation Indexes)
A must for graduate-level and postgraduate research. A collection of multidisciplinary citation databases, including Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Current Chemical Reactions, and Index Chemicus. Because the information stored about each article includes the article's cited reference list (i.e., its bibliography), you can also search for articles that cite a known author or work (The "cited reference" search). In particular, try selecting the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI,1975 to present) database on the main search page. Make sure that your search is structured like the examples provided.
Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive
Good for researching historical trends in the entertainment industry. Includes full-text searching and access for key trade newspapers in theater, film, broadcast media and music, among them the much-requested Variety. The database is primarily historical in focus; coverage extends to the year 2000
Film Literature Index Online
The Film Literature Index (FLI) Online indexes 150 film and television periodicals from 30 countries cover-to-cover and 200 other periodicals selectively for articles on film and television. The periodicals range from the scholarly to the popular. More than 2,000 subject headings provide detailed analysis of the articles. The FLI Online contains approximately 700,000 citations to articles, film reviews and book reviews published between 1976-2001. Coverage after 2001 is available in the print version of the Film Literature Index. Endnote filter available for download on website.
LexisNexis Academic Universe
Good for researching more recent coverage of the film industry and film reviews in newspapers and trade papers such as Variety. Full-text access to news, business, medical, educational and legal sources. The sources include international, national, and regional newspapers; magazines; trade journals; newsletters; wire service reports; and transcripts of television and radio news programs.
LGBT Life with full-text provides indexing and abstractsa for more than 400 magazines, journals, books and news sources, and also provides coverage for gray literature such as case studies and speeches. Additionally, LGBT Life includes full text for 50 of the most important and historically significant LGBT journals, magazines and regional newspapers, as well as dozens of full text monographs. The database now offers a comprehensive LGBT Thesaurus containing over 6,300 terms, along with searchable cited references.
Women's Studies International
Covers the core disciplines in Women's Studies to the latest scholarship in feminist research. Supports curriculum development in the areas of sociology, history, political science & economy, public policy, international relations, arts & humanities, business and education. Nearly 800 sources include: journals, newspapers, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, proceedings, reports, theses, dissertations, NGO studies, important websites & web documents, and grey literature.