Databases provide access to scholarly research, including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.
A wide range of databases are available to you at the University.
Below, you can find out more about research databases, and also browse the Philosophy databases list.
Support information is provided on a selection of the key databases you will use for your philosophy research.
Depending on your topic, you may need to explore databases from other subject areas, or particular types of databases such as news sources or official publications. Use the full A--Z database list to browse all databases.
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.
PhilPapers is a comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy. It includes full text access to journals, books, open access archives, and personal pages maintained by academics.
When you login to the databases, click on the Take a Tour of PhilPapers for a guided tour. This provides a short useful introduction to using PhilPapers.
The Advanced Search option allows for more targeted searching.
As well as entering your own search terms, you can use search particular fields such as author/date/publication.
Not all material is available in full text. Some content has bibliographic and abstract information only.
Scroll through the record screen and you will be able to check which full text options are available.
Philosopher's Index and the Religion & Philosophy Collection databases are both available via the EBSCOhost platform.
They are academic research databases covering the published literature in Philosophy and related disciplines. The services can be search independently or in combination. Watch the video tour on the next tab to familiarise yourself with this search service.
It is possible to search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time. You could search both Philosopher's Index and the Reliogion and Philosopy Collection together - plus any other EBSCO databases that align to your research topic.
To do this:
You can then run your search across all the selected databases at once.
Use the video demonstration to learn more about searching effectively on the EBSCO search platform.
Humanities Index and International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) are academic research databases on the ProQuest platform (sharing the same interface and features). They are multidisciplinary resources, offering peer-reviewed academic articles and other research materials from across the humanities and social sciences including philosophy and related studies. The Proquest Sociology collection is also available and includes the Applied Social Sciences Index & Abstracts service.
Watch the video demonstrations on the next tabs for guidance on searching and working with your search results.
Find out how to run a basic search with this quick video demonstration.
Use the Advanced Search video tutorial to find out more about searching effectively oin the Proquest databases
Use the video to discover how to work with your search results
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:
Just click on an item to view it and explore it in more detail
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, choose a date range and also select a discipline, e.g. Philosophy, 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.
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
Refine your results to content Available to me so that you will be able to view the full text of all your search results.
Scroll through and view items of interest.
You can select other Refine by options if you retrieve a large set of search results.