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HIP100 Research Skills Guide: What and Where?

What is a database?

In most essays and assignments – including the HIP100 Assessment item 2 (Essay) - you are expected to locate relevant scholarly journal articles to support your arguments.

In addition to finding journal articles on a topic from Primo Search, but you can also search directly in a database or package of databases.

A database is an organised collection of information records that can be accessed electronically. In the Library, databases can have:

  • journal article (and other) citations, where there is no full-text
  • journal article (and other) citations, where all records have the full-text attached
  • a mixture of the two above (this is the most common)
  • other types of records or items - eg. videos, images, or listings of people or companies.

To locate databases, go to A-Z Databases. You can browse by database title, or by subject category:

The Library's A-Z Databases list includes a Browse by Title alphabetical list and a list of subject categories including one for Allied Health.


The Allied Health list should have all the databases you might need, including several Recommended databases. CINAHL Plus with Full-Text, a key international database for nursing and allied health, appears at the top of the list. (For more on using CINAHL, see next page.)

Databases and Database Platforms

What's the difference?
Database Database Platform
An organised collection of information records that can be accessed electronically a company which provides access to a number of databases, via a search interface unique to that company, where the databases can be searched/browsed individually or together.
The 4 main database platforms, and examples of databases they contain:
Platform Database
  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
  • Nursing and Allied Health Source
  • ANZ Newsstream
Informit **
  • Health Collection
  • Rural & Remote Health
  • EBM Reviews - Full Text

** This platform is currently being rebuilt and might not be reliable.

Once you are in one of the database platforms, you can search across a number of databases at the same time. In some cases, the Library provides a package of subject-related databases that are in the same platform. Two examples are:

Online Journal Articles Explained