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Choosing & Using Library Databases

What is in the Database?

There are 4 basic questions you need to ask yourself when trying to find the best database for your research needs.


1,) What SUBJECT AREA does it cover?

  • always read the blurb under the database entries in the AtoZ list on the library website. For example...


Access Physiotherapy from McGraw-Hill is a resource providing integrated physical therapy textbooks, procedure and exercise videos, image galleries, and self-assessment tools. (NOT the database to use if you are looking for peer-reviewed journal articles in nursing.)


2.) What is the DATE RANGE coverage?

  • not all the databases provide complete coverage. if there are date limitations, the blurb in the AtoZ list will point it out. For example...

Sage Journal Online

It provides access to more than 1,000 peer-reviewed journals panning the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology, and Medicine. Online access goes back to 1999. (Not a problem if you are looking for the latest journal articles).


3.) What TYPE OF INFORMATION does it cover?

  • this will make a huge difference. For example, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) and the OTseeker database are very useful if you need to RATE the methodological quality of randomized controlled trials. The downside of these 2 databases, however, is that their coverage is limited. (Use these databases to rate RCTs, but not to search for available RCTS).


4.) Is there FULL TEXT?

  • if the database identifies itself as an INDEX or CITATION INDEX, there is usually no full text for you to read, as only the abstracts are provided. If you need to read the the article for your research and cannot find the full text, please request a copy using the SIT Library Document Delivery form. A citation index example...

Web of Science

Web of Science consists of Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, and Conference Proceedings Citation Index. (These citation indexes have an additional link for you to check the SIT Library for availability before you request Document Delivery).