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Nutrition: Effective Library Research: 5. Research databases

Online tutorial introducing you to the skills and techniques needed for effective library research.

Research databases are a good place to find scholarly literature. Research databases provide access to research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters.

The core databases for your subject are highlighted here.

There are many more databases you may like to consider searching as part of your research. Details of all of the databases you can access are available through the A-Z databases list.


Learn more about what databases are and why they are important below, before completing the database search tutorial activities.


A-Z Databases Activities

A-Z Databases

Nutrition related research can be drawn from across the social, health and medical sciences.

You are likely to use a range of different databases depending on the nature of your topic. The core databases will provide wide ranging content from across health and medical sciences.

However, if you are looking for articles on the social and behavioural content of food in society, Proquest Sociology is a good starting point. Whilst for topics focusing on the psychological impact and mental health aspects of nutrition then APA PsycInfo would be the place to start. 

The core databases for your subject are:

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?

  • They are a valuable way of searching for published scholarly research across a wide number of sources
  • You can build complex searches using sophisticated search interfaces. There will be plenty of options to refine your searches, ensuring that the results are likely to be relevant to your needs
  • They contain huge numbers of records, and thus provide comprehensive subject coverage
  • They also provide frequent (often daily) indexing, and so are very up to date

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:

  • Some databases provide full text access to the articles themselves.
  • Some databases are primarily indexes or bibliographic databases, and although they provide information about the content of a journal article, they may not provide full-text access to the actual article itself.
  • Some databases are a mixture of full-text and indexed/bibliographic access.


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.

Databases Platforms

The following database use the  Ovid platform:

The following databases use the EBSCO platform:

The following databases use the ProQuest platform: 

Web of Science

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.

Web of Science search image


Access to thousands of abstracts for articles, conference papers and book chapters across a range of subject disciplines. Use SCOPUS to link to full-text holdings, find related items and track article citations.

Document search is the default option, searching for your search terms in the article, title, abstracts and keyword fields. You can add additional rows to your search query by using the plus button. Use the limit option to restrict your search results based upon date range, document type or access type. For more information about how to search SCOPUS on the LibGuide or see their range of tutorials.

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