Evidence-based practice: Finding evidence: searching databases

Finding evidence: searching databases

Use library databases to find peer-reviewed, high quality articles and research papers.

If you are not sure which databases are relevant to your subject area, use the Browse by Subject section on the Library's Databases A to Z page or make an appointment with your College Librarian. There is a selection of key databases on this page

Once you have decided on which database(s) to use

  • enter key terms to search
  • use advanced search options where possible
  • separate each key term or concept into a new search box (if available)
  • limit and refine your results using the tools available (refinement tools will differ for each database). 

Key databases

Provides full text and covers nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines. In addition, this database offers access to health care books, nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, educational software, audiovisuals and book chapters. Watch 'How to search CINAHL' (video)

Collection of databases containing high quality and independent evidence to inform healthcare decision making- Cochrane Database of systematic review, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) & Cochrane Clinical Answers. Searching the Cochrane Library (video)

MEDLINE with Full-Text is a tool for medical research providing full-text for top-tier medical journals. These top journals cover a wide range of subjects within the biomedical and health fields containing information needed by doctors, nurses, health professionals and researchers engaged in clinical care, public health and health policy development. See 'How to search MEDLINE' (video)

Covers databases across all major subject areas, including Business, Health and Medical, Language and Literature, Social Sciences, Education, Science and Technology, as well as core titles in the Performing and Visual Arts, History, Religion, Philosophy, and includes thousands of full-text newspapers from around the world.

PsycINFO, from the American Psychological Association, contains citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books and dissertations, all in psychology and related disciplines, dating as far back as 1840. Watch 'How to search PsycINFO' (video). 

PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, includes citations for biomedical articles back to the 1950's. These citations are from MEDLINE and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full-text articles and other related resources. For more on this database watch 'How to Search PubMed' (video) 

SPORTDiscus with Full text is the definitive database for sports and sports medicine research. Providing hundreds of full-text sports medicine journals, it is an essential tool for health professionals and researchers studying fitness, health and sports. Subjects covered include: Athletic training; coaching and education; Consumer health; Exercise science and fitness; Health education; Kinesiology; Nutrition; Occupational health and safety; Orthopedics; Physical education; Physical therapy; Sociology of sports; Sport psychology; Sports injuries and rehabilitation; Sports management; Sports sciences. Video: Searching for journal articles in SportDiscus database


Pre-appraised literature databases

Trip is a free clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. Users can optionally sign up for a personal account to receive emails regarding new content in their area of interest, and to keep track of their search history. Searching the new Trip database (video)

speechBITE is a database of intervention studies across the scope of speech pathology practice. Find out more about this evidence-based practice initiative on the pages below. Search SpeechBite (video)

PEDro has been designed to support the practice of evidence-based physiotherapy. It gives rapid access to the best research evaluating the effects of physiotherapy interventions. Only studies using the most rigorous research methods are indexed: randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. A unique feature of PEDro is that trials are independently assessed for quality using the PEDro scale. These quality ratings are used to quickly guide users to trials that are more likely to be valid and to contain sufficient information to guide practice. Search PEDro (video)

Database search tips

Download this document on 'Database Search Tips' and learn how using truncation, wildcard, connectors, phrases and proximity features leads to more effective searching.