The key to selecting the right database is knowing what's in it. Here are some questions to ask about any database before you use it.
Note what subject areas are covered to ensure that you are using the right database for your topic. Searching for engineering articles in PsycArticles (a psychology database) won't get you far.
Most databases only cover materials published in the last few decades; there's usually a specific cutoff date. If you're looking for articles or research from before that date, you'll need to use a different database.
In a few databases, you also need to ask "How recent does it get?" Databases of historical materials usually don't go up to the present. And some databases simply exclude the most recent year or two of all journal articles.
Most databases index scholarly journal articles, but many cover other types of content, either in addition to or instead of. Some common material types include:
Start with a database in the General / Multiple-Topic box in the Database By Subject guide. The databases in this box have content that covers a wide range of topics and they are also in different content types.
EbscoHost and ProQuest aren't databases. They're companies that host databases. Lots of databases. Their logos appear prominently on the web pages, but knowing which vendor you used doesn't really help narrow the options if you're trying to retrace your search results.