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:

8. Field searching

References in the database are normally split up into fields, such as:

  • author
  • title
  • journal title
  • subject.

If the database has an advanced search option, you may be able to restrict your search to a particular field. If your search terms appear in the title or subject of the reference, the reference is likely to be more relevant.

Field searching can also be used to distinguish between, for example:

  • shakespeare as an author
  • shakespeare as a subject