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ELISE | Informing your studies tutorial: Databases


Quiz question There may be a quiz question related to the information on this page.

Learn more study skills

Study hacks are a series of workshops for new and returning students throughout term. These sessions will help you develop key skills you need to succeed at UNSW.

Search tips

For more advice on searching databases use the Search health check on the Advanced research skills tab.

Why use a database?

Scholarly information relevant to your studies can be found by searching databases.


  • index a range of journals in a particular field of study
  • publish new journal articles regularly
  • can also index book chapters, conference proceedings, government and technical reports
  • can be specialised or multidisciplinary
  • contain records that include subject terms or descriptors. These terms can help improve the quality of your searches

UNSW Library databases have been evaluated and selected by subject specialists.

Using Library databases is an efficient way of searching a wide spectrum of literature. For example, if you are looking for literature on psychology, you would search PsycINFO, the premier psychology database, rather than searching individually through all the psychology journals in the library. A database search applies your keywords to hundreds of psychology journals. This will result in a greater number of relevant articles.

Tip  Read more about databases on the Academic information page, under the Discover tab

Which database?

Find databases relevant to your topic using:

  • Subject guides
    Introduce you to the key databases in a subject area
  • Database search
    Search for relevant databases using keywords, e.g environment. You can also browse through an alphabetical list of databases