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Advanced Medical Radiation Science: 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. Medical Sciences & Dentistry databases will be particularly useful for your study.

Journal Databases for Medical Radiation

For a comprehensive list of relevant databases, head to A-Z databases - Medical Sciences and Dentistry

In this guide we will provide some search tips and look at the following journal databases in detail:

Depending on the emphasis of your research question, other databases which may be helpful include:

Be sure to contact a Librarian if you need help navigating these resources.

MeSH and CINAHL Headings

Many databases often have an official, authorised, and highly structured set of subject headings - also known as a "Thesaurus" - which are used to describe the content of journal articles.

The best known of these thesauri is MeSH, or Medical Subject Headings, devised by the US National Library of Medicine. These are used to index the content in PubMed, as well as several other databases including MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library and JBI Connect+. CINAHL uses its own set of subject headings, which incorporates the MeSH vocabulary, known as CINAHL headings.

In the health sciences, a search using the thesaurus is probably the best type of search you can do. But it's important to check what the subject headings are. CINAHL will make this easier for you by offering a "Suggest Subject Terms" feature, while PubMed will automatically map search terms to MeSH terms.

How do Journal Databases work?

A journal database is an organised collection of indexed information records, most often from journal articles. This is where you would head when you need to search for information published in journals.

An information record in a journal database may contain:

  • Citation details (such as author, date of publication, title, etc)
  • Details describing the publication (such as a summary, contents, abstract, or subject area)
  • Information about its veracity (such as whether it has been peer reviewed, or its citation count)
  • A link to the full text of the document

Some online journals are open access, which means anyone can access the articles freely. However, most online journals require a subscription for access to the full text of articles, which can be very expensive. This is where the Library comes in. We subscribe to thousands of online journals on your behalf. To access them you must go through the Library website - either Primo Search or a link from a journal database. That ensures that you are an authorised user of the material.

For assistance please see our Database Help Library Resource Guide.

Journal database videos are available on the Training Tutorials and Videos page.


Recording your search strategy

Saving your search strategy enables someone else to replicate your search. 

Keep a record of your search strategies, the sources searched and search results from each.


  • The names of the sources you search and which provider you accessed them through - eg Medline (Ovid), Web of Science (Thomson Reuters). You should also include any other literature sources you used.
  • The search strategies that you applied when searching different sources (eg Medline, Web of Science) can be added as an appendix to your document. This provides additional detail on:
    • how you searched (keyword and/or subject headings)
    • which search terms you used (which words and phrases)
    • any search techniques you employed (truncation, adjacency, etc)
    • how you combined your search terms (AND/OR).  Watch this video for more tips on Boolean Searching.
  • The number of search results from each source and each strategy used.  This can be the evidence you need to prove a gap in the literature, and confirms the importance of your research question.

A search planner, such as the one linked below, may help you to organise your thoughts. 

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