Databases are large directories of content such as articles, images, market trend reports and scientific papers. They can be used to locate useful journal articles for your essays simply by searching within them using keywords to describe your topic. While Discover is a good place to start searching for relevant academic sources, it doesn't search all of the databases that are available through QMU (and neither does Google Scholar) so it's a good idea to find out which databases are most relevant to you (below) and how to search them effectively.
Accessing databases and the articles in them
Most databases require you to sign in using your university login.
More information on accessing our electronic databases is available here.
When you are conducting a keyword search in a database, you need to take variations in spelling into account as there may be differences in UK and US spellings. This web page lists medical terms with variations in spelling.
The PRESS Checklist is a tool used for peer review of electronic literature search strategies. You can use this checklist to evaluate your own search strategy as well, to ensure that you haven't missed any important elements.
EBSCO has produced guides on using different features of it databases. Links to some of the guides are listed below:
EBSCOhost Basic Searching Tutorial (PowerPoint)
EBSCO Advanced Searching Tutorial (PowerPoint)
Browsing Subject Terms in EBSCOhost Databases Tutorial (PowerPoint)
The guide looks at how to save searches so they can be re-run or edited at a later date:
A guide on how to use the search functions in ProQuest.
ProQuest search strategy tips course
The online course (7 minutes) looks to provide guidance on how to develop a search strategy. Providing help with Boolean operators, truncation and wild cards, proximity operators etc.
There is a transcript available for the ProQuest course available here
ProQuest online course to using the thesaurus function
An online course (5:50 minutes) designed by ProQuest on locating and using the thesauri that are inbuilt with ProQuest databases
Creating a personal ProQuest account
Creating a 'My Research' account allows you to save, manage, and organize the content and supporting materials you find and create in ProQuest. You can include documents, searches, search alerts, RSS feeds, and more in My Research. Setting up a My Research account is simple and free to all ProQuest users. ProQuest has provided guidance on how to set up an account within their databases:
How does ScienceDirect transform my search inputs?
This short overview guide from Elsevier summaries some of the main features found in the database that can be used to search its collections:
Search tips for using the Advanced search option
There is also a short online tutorial (2:40 mins) that explores performing an advanced search:
This short guide look at how to refine and sort search results within ScienceDirect:
The short guide outlines how searches can be saved, retrieved and deleted:
Pp. 1-4 of this short guide provide an overview of how to get started with Scopus. The document can be downloaded or printed out.
This guide goes into more details. The 'Searching for a documents' section includes information about how to its inbuilt functions, such as a phrase searching and Boolean operators. The 'combining search' section looks at how to combine separate searches together:
Quick reference guide
Presentation slides exploring the features of Web of Science
The guides provide an overview of the database, looking at areas such the features inbuilt within the databases, how to combine searches and how to save searches. The guides can be downloaded or printed out.
The help page's 'Strategies for getting results' section contains several short online tutorials looking at how to effectively use the database:
Tutorials include :
Build Better searches (5:10 mins) - Provides an overview of in-built features, such as using fields, truncation, boolean operators and phrase searching.
Advanced search (1:42 mins) - explores the advanced search option, ho to use the features and where to find previous searches
Combining search sets in Advanced search (3:57 mins) - tutorial looks at how to combines searches within Advanced Search
Why use controlled terms for search? (1:56 mins) - explores incorporating thesaurus terms within a search