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HCS204 Research Skills Guide: Journal Databases

Which Databases should I choose?

The Journal Articles page on the Human Services & Social Work Library Resource Guide provides a list of relevant journals and databases. 

Visit the Humanities, Social Work & Human Services databases for all potentially useful databases in your area. 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: "foster care"
2nd search row: child* OR youth
3rd search row: abuse

Combine these search rows using AND.

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. 

Research Methods

If you would like to find out more about the research methods used in your discipline area there are a couple of places to search: 

  • SAGE Research Methods database contains lots of useful information about research methods and literature reviews. 
  • Primo Search also contains many books and eBooks on research methods.

Tip: Sage Research Methods database has an exceptional help section, which includes videos about how to use the database.

How do I search in databases?

Take a look at the video below for a demonstration of how to search within a ProQuest database. You can apply the same search principles to other databases.

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.