The electronic databases give access to the full text and abstracts of relevant articles for research purposes. Many subjects are covered across the Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities.

Access and Getting Started

  • From the list of databases available, enter the preferred URL in the address bar
  • Once at the homepage of the database, follow the procedure as indicated for accessing the electronic databases.

 Search Types

There are 4 main types of Searching:

  • Basic Search - allows you to input keyword(s), but you cannot set limits, combine lots of terms etc
  • Advanced Search – allows combining of more terms and setting of limits, e.g. date, type of publication, discipline etc
  • Article Locator – allows you to search for an article in a journal when you have a particular reference.
  • Browse Searching - from the main search page you can click on Browse at the top of the screen and you can start to look through the journals in the list of databases available by discipline, by title, then issue by issue.

Basic Search

This search is the default search facility and allows you to search by entering a phrase, an author’s name, a term from the title or a term from the abstract of an article

  • Use double quote marks to search for a phrase e.g. “Educational reform” or “currency reform”

If you do not identify any field operators (see below) then you will be searching the author, title and full text of all types of the  journals content (articles, book reviews, etc) by default.

To limit your search you can use field operators

  • Use ti: to search for a word(s) that appear in titles of articles or reviewed works e.g. ti: “Queen Elizabeth I”
  • Use au: to search for an author e.g. au: “E H Carr” (including middle names or initials will narrow the search, but may de-emphasize an article written by the author whom you are searching for if their middle name is not always used in publication.)
  • Use ab: to search for a word(s)  that appears in an abstract of an article
  • Use AND, OR, NOT to combine terms e.g. ti: Stalin AND au: “E H Carr”, ti: NATO OR ti: “North Atlantic Treaty Organization”

Advanced Search

Allows you to limit your search by discipline, type of article, date range, or by journal

  • To narrow your search to a specific discipline select the box next to the name of the discipline in which you would like to search. You may search multiple disciplines.
  • To narrow your search to a specific journal you can expand the discipline dropdown
  • menu (by clicking on the plus sign next to the discipline) and then check the box next to the exact journal title.
  • To narrow your search by type check the box next to either Article (full-length article), Review (articles in which another item is reviewed), Editorial (letters to the editor, editorials), and/or Other item (include front matter, back matter)
  • To narrow your search by date or date range enter a date using the format examples on the screen. If the first date field is entered and the second left blank, the search will be done from the date entered to the most recent issue available. If you leave the first field empty and use the second this will return items published before and including the date.

Article Locator

The Article Locator can help you find an article using the article's citation information.

  • Fill in as many fields as you can. The more information you provide, the more likely you are to find the article you are searching for.
  • Leave unknown fields empty. You do not need to fill in every field to perform a search.

Other Search Techniques

Combining Search Terms

You may combine search terms and fields using AND, OR, and NOT.
When you combine search terms with AND in a full-text search, you find all items in which both terms appear. When you combine search terms, your search results will be more precise.

E.g. Cats AND Dogs
Using OR between search terms allows to you find all items which contain either term. To search for items containing one or more of your search terms, use OR.

E.g. Cats OR Dogs
Searches using NOT will only find items that do not contain the search term following NOT. To exclude items containing a particular search term, use NOT before the term.

Cats NOT Dogs


  • Using  a  ?  will allow  you  search  for  alternative  spellings  e.g.  organi?ation  will  find organisation or organization.
  • You  can  use  *  to  match  more  than  one  letter  e.g.  behaviour*  finds  behavioural, behaviours etc (Note ? cannot be used in place of the first letter of a word)


By adding an ampersand & to the end of singular word you can search for the singular and plural of a word at the same time e.g. box& will find box and boxes, knife& will find knife and knives.
Proximity Operators
By using ~ you can find terms that are within a specific number of words to each other which helps to increase their relevancy e.g.  if  you  want  an  article  with  the  terms  debt  and forgiveness within 5 words of each other use “debt forgiveness”~5

  • Click on the title link to see the full document.
  • You can read through the article by paging through with the Next page and previous page links above and below the article.