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SOC101 Library Research Skills Guide: Use Journal Databases

Why Should You Use Journal Databases?

Journal databases:

  • Are the best source of academic or scholarly information for your assessments
  • Help you locate peer reviewed articles
  • Are subject specific, so that you get more relevant results
  • Have many options for refining results

You can find the Library's databases on the A-Z Databases page.

Databases are grouped into subject areas. The Humanities, Social Work & Human Services will be particularly useful for your study. 

The Library also has a range of News & Current Affairs databases that will be useful when locating a piece of media about your social movement for Assessment Item 3.

Tips for searching in a journal database

Primo Search searches broadly across the majority of the Library's collection and has a range of in-built refining options that makes narrowing your results quite easy. However, since Primo Search is searching the whole collection, it can yield results related to other disciplines. 

Journal databases generally provide access to resources that are similar in topic so searching within a journal database can be an effective way to locate discipline-specific resources. 


Tips for searching in a journal database

1. Start with the databases on the Humanities, Social Work & Human Services or the News & Current Affairs page if you're looking for your piece of media. 

2. Try the recommended databases in the yellow box at the top of the databases page.

3. Expand the database description to learn more about the databases main subject areas. This will help you determine a useful database to search within.

4. Consider using a database from another subject area if your assessment includes multi-disciplinary concepts.


Once you've found a database you want to use, try typing your same keywords into the search.

  • Did you get less results than Primo Search and Google Scholar? Being a Humanities, Social Work & Human Services database, they should be more relevant to your topic.
  • Look at the HTML and PDF links to access the full text of the article.
  • If you cannot find the full text click on the              Find it               button to check if the article is available elsewhere.

Full Text

Sometimes you will read that a database is 'full text', or that an article can be found in 'full text'. 'Full text' means that the entire document is available online. When a database carries an article in full text there will be a hyperlink to view it as either a PDF or html document. Not all journal databases contain full text.

If an article is not available in full text you may be able to locate it in another database. Clicking on the Find itbutton will allow you to check if the article is available elsewhere. 

journal articles & library databases

Searching in a database

Want to learn more about journal databases?

  • The Library holds a series of Online Library Workshops, some of these focus on journal database searching. 
  • We also have a Databases Help guide that contains a wealth of information on using journal databases.