Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.
They also provide access to specific types of materials such as maps, film, news, official papers, standards etc.
A wide range of databases are available to you at the University.
Explore some of the core resources for your subject area from the A-Z Databases list and try searching for information on your dissertation topic.
Highlighted below are a few key resources that could prove useful across a wide range of different research areas.
What is a database?
Research databases enable you to see what has been published in the area you are researching. They contain detailed records of thousands of journal articles, book references and conference proceedings. These records usually include the article title, authors, abstract (a brief summary), keywords (to enable your search to find it) and more.
Why should I use a database?
There are many different databases. Their interfaces will all vary, and they may use different terminology.
However, they all have similar features. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to find your way around different databases. You can see the main features in the examples below.
This is what a standard database interface looks like:
Once you click the Search button, the results page appears:
It is important to note:
So, when searching databases, be prepared for an extra step.
After finding a relevant article or book you need to check whether you have access to that item, either in print or in full-text online. Many of the databases will have a Check for this at Exeter button; clicking on this link will check whether we have access to the item.
For more information and top tips on finding the full text, see the How to access full text articles libguide.
In some cases, material you want to consult may not be available to you at Exeter.
You will be using vast literature databases which feature many millions of resources from around the world. There are a number of options that may be of assistance to connect you with the information you need.
This service can be used to request books/journal articles from other libraries. There is a charge for this service. Check online to see what arrangements are in place with your College / Department for covering the costs of this service. You may have an allocation or your supervisor may provide a prepaid token for the request.
Students can make book suggestions to the Library. Submit requests online and they will be reviewed by the library. If the book is unlikely to be used by others after your dissertation work, then you may be directed to the Document Delivery scheme instead, for short term access to material.
Use this service to search across the book and journal collections of the UK research and specialist libraries.
You can search to see if copies of books/journals are available in other libraries that you could visit whilst at home over the vacation, or by a special trip. Always check the access requirements before you travel, if you wish to visit another library. Find out more about visiting other libraries.
To find databases, use the A-Z list.
See the next tabs for help with finding the best databases for your topic.
Use the Database Targets worksheet to record useful databases as you explore.
Each entry in the A-Z database list has an information icon. Hover over that symbol for information about the content that is available in the database and an idea of why it might be useful for research purposes. Shown below is the information for Project Muse, which is a valuable humanities research database.
You can scroll through the A-Z and choose a database if you know exactly what you are looking for.
Select databases by Subject
You can select your subject from the drop down subject menu to see a subset of resources in that category.
The subject listings will highlight the 'core resources'; these are key databases that are likely to be of interest to anyone studying and researching in that area.
Your Subject LibGuide will also highlight recommended databases for you to explore.
Select databases by Type
You can select a database type from the drop down type menu to see a subset of resources in that category.
For example, you may want to focus on news, official publications or reference works databases
Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. It is a vast online research methods library.
It is targeted at social science researchers, and covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.
Sage have produced this LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.
You can access full text content and instructional videos from leading academics from across the social sciences.
It covers both qualitative and quantitative methods.
Some of the sections are not available - this is indicated by a padlock. For example, you cannot access the Cases or Datasets sections.
The Methods Map is designed to help you understand the relationship between methods concepts.
You can use it for definitions of particular research methodology terms or concepts, and then link through to content on that subject. You can also see broader and narrower research content terms.
Find out more in the Sage instructional video.
Enter a research method / concept into the search box - e.g. observation
Scroll through and view items of interest.
You can select other Refine by options if you retrieve a large set of search results.
The mission of the Roper Center is to collect, preserve, and disseminate public opinion data; to serve as a resource to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and around the world.
Use this resource to access the public opinion archive covering the 1930's to date.
It enables you to analyze evolving public opinion across a wide range of topics and use the datasets to examine methodological or question wording effects.
Use the online support materials to build your skills and knowledge of using the Roper centre resources. You can access user guides, videos and join webinars.
A range of materials are provided to faciitate the use of polling data in the classroom and to help students build their data literacy in finding, analyzing, interpreting and describing data. Lesson plans, assignments and workshop exercises, plus more, are all available.
JSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources. You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.
You an enter a quick search into the quick search box on the JSTOR home page, for example:
anthropology and "human diversity"
Just click on an item to view it and explore it in more detail
You can refine your search results from the Refine Results options on the left of your search results.
You may want to refine your results if you find too many as a result of your initial search.
For example, you can search within results or limit by content type (books or journals), date of publication or subject
The advanced search allows you to be more targeted with your research and apply limits/filters to your search before you begin.
For example, you can add multiple search terms, specify the proximity of your search terms and also select a discipline, e.g. Anthropology, so that you filter out material from other subject disciplines.
Web of Science is a large multidisciplinary research database covering all subject areas.
You can use it to discover the global literature on a wide range of topics. It is not a full text database, but you can use it to discover published material and follow links through to discover the full text available on other services.