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Databases are excellent tools for researching journal articles, as well as other scholarly content. They often have a specialised focus – for example, by subject, resource type, geography.

The search results in databases can be sorted and filtered in a variety of ways – for example by level of content (scholarly, peer-reviewed). Some databases also display citation data that enables you to track the development of a research idea forward through time .

Databases will often give you direct access to the full text online, but if you cannot see a link to the online article, try the “Find It” link . This will open a new browser window that will search all databases to which RMIT Library has access. If you cannot find the article online it may be available in print, or you can request the article via the Library’s Document Delivery Service.


RMIT University 2012, What’s a library database?, YouTube, RMIT University, Melbourne, <https://youtu.be/KKIbnNLCh8g>.


Boolean searching can often be very helpful when searching databases. This type of searching allows you to combine your keywords with connecting words, also called “Boolean operators”. Most databases use common Boolean words such as OR and AND.

OR Use OR to find records that contain any of the terms you use – it will broaden your search. This is useful if you want to allow for alternative terms for the same concept – e.g., “climate change” OR “global warming”

AND Using AND finds records that contain all your terms you use – it will narrow your search. It specifies that each term must appear in your search results – e.g., “climate change” AND cereals


Lexy Spry & Emily Wixson 2008, Boolean operators, YouTube, Chemistry Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison, <https://youtu.be/xsSZps3NH-M>.


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