Secondary sources

6. Search for articles by subject

One of the most efficent ways you can search for journal articles by topic or keyword is to use a database. Databases are high quality and subject-specific online collections. Using a database over a more general search tool, like Google or Library Search, has several advantages:

  • databases are subject-specific
  • databases may offer a greater range of search functionality
  • databases generally contain a smaller number of items 
  • databases will generally contain more scholarly material.

Where to find journal databases

The Legal Research Guide lists the primary journal databases for law. For databases on specific disciplines or jurisdictions see the complete list of law subject guides.


Several useful databases are available on the Informit platform, including AGIS Plus Text, APAFT and CINCH.

  • AGIS Plus Text (Attorney-Generals Information Service) indexes the majority of Australian legal journals. AGIS Plus text is a comprehensive index of Australian legal journals, providing coverage across over 140 peer-reviewed law journals from Australia, New Zealand and across the Asia Pacific region.
  • APAFT (Australian Public Affairs Full Text) contains journals about Australia's political, economic and social affairs.
  • CINCH is an Australian criminology database and includes information on crime and the criminal justice system.

 Watch Searching Informit (YouTube, 4m50s)


The various Westlaw platforms contain Australian and foreign law journal articles.

  • Westlaw AU includes Australian journals published by Thomson Reuters
  • Westlaw UK contains journals from the United Kingdom and Europe.

The primary Westlaw platform contains the largest collection of journals and includes the World Journals database. World Journals provides perhaps the most comprehensive range of international and foreign law journals. 

Screen shot of the Westlaw search platform
World Journals Advanced Search function allows you to search in a number of different ways. 


HeinOnline contains journal articles from a range of jurisdictions, including Australia, the United States, Europe, and other countries. It provides comprehensive coverage of many historical journals.

 Watch HeinOnline Searching 101 (YouTube, 5m33s)

Lexis Advance

The Lexis Advance platform contains Australian and foreign law journal articles. Ensure you are using Lexis Advance Pacific to find Australian articles. The Lexis Advance US platform contains US and international journal articles and includes the Law Reviews & Journals database.

Would you just use Lexis Advance to search for Australian journal articles?
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