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GEO314/513 Research Skills Guide: Use Journal Databases

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.

What is the SciTech collection?

The SciTech Premium Collection is a multidisciplinary content collection of scholarly and learned material in the natural sciences, technology, engineering and related disciplines. Faculty, graduate and post-graduate students will find comprehensive coverage from thousands of full-text titles including peer-reviewed journals, trade publications, books/monographs, conference proceedings, reports, newswires, video material and much more.

Moreover, for those who need to dive deep into their discipline, we include a wide-range of discipline specific A&I databases for fast discovery of relevant content. Editorial input into content selection, controlled vocabulary and indexing brings structure to the literature making it easier for researchers to efficiently discover relevant papers within their discipline.

Advanced Search

Use the Advanced Search to create a more structured query, searching across different fields. Enter your search term, then use the pull-down menus to the right to select the search fields you want to target (outlined below), and between each row select Boolean operators to connect your search terms.

Try It Now - Open the ProQuest SciTech Premium Collection and try trying in the keywords - "Murrumbidgee River" AND river flow AND seasonal variation*. We are using trucation here in the form of an astricks (*) which will locate variation, variations. Other ideas may be to search Murrumbidgee river NEAR/4 flow. You could even consider adding seasional variation* or regulat* in the line below.

NEAR/# allows you to target your search by finding documents where they words are within some number(#) of words from each other (either before of after). The # will be replaced by the number, the number will determine the number of words between your search terms. In the ProQuest example below, the databases will search for drift within 4 words of invertebrate in the title of the article (search field changed to document title). Also, try changing the search in field for keywords to appear in the abstract or subject of the articles.

You can limit your search to items containing Full text and Peer Reviewed - items to only find documents reviewed by subject matter experts. Use the Publication date menu to target a date range or a specific date. 

From the Advanced Search page you may find a link to the thesaurus feature. A thesaurus is an alphabetical listing of all the subject terms in a single database, used to classify and organize information for that database. The thesaurus shows relationships between terms such as synonyms or related terms, and hierarchical arrangements such as broader terms, or narrower terms.

How do I search in databases

Take a look at the video below for a demonstration of how to search within ProQuest

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 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 effects of regulation on the season flow regime of the Murrumbidgee River, you could use a new row for each element of your topic. In this case you might search for:

1st search row: regulat*
2nd search row: "Murrumbidgee River"
3rd search row: seasonal flow

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.

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. 

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