Databases contain what are called 'records', which are simply text descriptions of each item in the database. The text descriptions include, among other elements:
Some databases include summaries, called 'abstracts', of articles.
Some databases contain articles or other material in full text or as PDF files.
The key to discovering material relevant to your topic is your ability to use appropriate VOCABULARY – words and phrases – to search the communication streams
Here's an interesting point about scholarly articles: they are written by scholars as they participate in ongoing debates. So, who's the audience for these articles? Other scholars! Unlike textbooks and reference books, scholarly articles are not aimed at college students. You can expect difficult concepts and vocabulary.