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:

10. Snowballing to locate similar references

You can use a relevant reference you have already found, to help you locate similar references on the database.

Check the database record:

  • Are there subject descriptors in the record?
  • Can you click on the descriptors, or select them, to search for other references which have the same descriptors?
  • Can you redo the search, using those descriptors?

Check the list of references or bibliography in any relevant references you have already located. This may point you to other useful references.

Some databases support cited-reference searching. This is a technique that allows you to start with one important reference and then find later references that cite it.