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BIO323 Research Skills Guide: Journal Databases

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Which Databases should I choose?

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

Visit the Environmental Science Journal Databases listing for all potentially useful databases in your area. 

Recommended Environmental Science Databases

Government based databases

Note that you don't have to use every database for every assignment - but nor should you restrict your search to one database only.

Don't forget, you can also use Primo Search and Google Scholar to locate journal articles.

Journal Database Search Strategies

When you go into a journal database you will notice that many of them feature multiple search boxes that are stacked one above the other in rows.

While they may look intimidating, they can make your search process easier.

Think of each row as a train of thought. For example, if you were searching for an article about the abuse of children in foster care, you could use a new row for each element of your topic. In this case you might search for:

1st search row: "invertebrate drift"
2nd search row: stream* OR river* OR freshwater

3rd search row: diel pattern* OR season* pattern*

You'll notice we have used some search tips in the search above. Check out the FIND [link] page for a listing of these tips. 

Tip: If you want to learn more about how to maximise your search using search strategies, contact the Library. We can assist you in creating an effective search strategy.

How to search in a database

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 it CSU button will allow you to check if the article is available elsewhere. 

Try it now

Open the ProQuest Science Journals Database and try typing in the keywords – "invertebrate drift" AND (stream* OR river* OR freshwater OR running water*) AND ("diel pattern*" OR season* pattern*) (you may need to sign in first with your CSU username and password):

  • Notice the number of results you get? Much less than Primo Search and Google Scholar? However, being a Science database, you should find these much more relevant to your topic.
  • Look at the HTML and PDF links to access the full text of the article.
  • Try change the field search, so the keywords appear in the title, abstract or subject terms of the article.

Try out these keyword search terms in:

  • Academic Search Complete
  • Wiley Online
  • SpringerLink
  • ProQuest Aquatic Science Collection
  • Taylor & Francis

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. 

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.

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