The two main article databases for history are Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. One or the other of these databases is usually the best starting place to search for scholarly articles in English on topics in history. America: History and Life covers the history of North America, while Historical Abstracts covers the rest of the world from 1450 to the present. Both databases identify journal articles, books, dissertations, and conference proceedings.
These databases differ from a full text collection like JSTOR in the scope and depth of coverage. JSTOR has about 300 history journals, while Historical Abstracts covers over 2,300 history journals, and America: History and Life covers over 1,700. In other words: if you only search JSTOR, you will be missing much of the published scholarship.
There are many other specialized or multidisciplinary article databases that you could search, depending on the focus of your topic. Here are some of the databases that could be relevant to this class:
There are several major collections of full-text electronic journals. In these databases you can browse individual issues of journals, or you can do a search across the entire database.
For older journals, use JSTOR ("journal storage"). This is a digitized, fully searchable version of the full content of more than 1,000 scholarly journals (about 300 of them are history) from their inception (sometimes as early as the 18th century) up to the last 1-5 years (recent issues are excluded). Some of the titles you will find in JSTOR:
For the full text of more than 500 recent scholarly journals (about 65 of them history journals), use Project Muse. These too are fully searchable. In most cases, only the issues from the last few years are available. Here you will find, for example,
Periodicals Archive Online has the full text of over 600 journals in the humanities and social sciences, with content going back as far as 1770 and extending to the present. About 100 of these titles are history journals.