Databases are online collections of resources that you can search to find information. They may cover a particular subject area or cover a range of subjects.

Most databases:

  • have a peer reviewed or scholarly material filter to ensure you get reliable, authoritative information
  • offer advanced search features that allow you to focus your search.

You can search databases to find journal articles, but they may also contain other publication types such as books, theses, newspapers, videos and images. 

Databases usually have a "Help" section with a detailed explanation of how to perform searches.

Focus your search in databases using these search tips:

11. Parentheses to group search terms

Use parentheses to keep groups of terms together if you use more than one type of connector (or Boolean operator) in a search statement e.g. AND as well as OR. This procedure is sometimes called nesting. For example:

(women OR woman OR female) AND (smoking OR tobacco)

The alternative is to do several searches with different combinations of the search terms.