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Sports Science: Search skills for systematic reviews: Accessing the full text articles

This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to systematically search for your systematic review projects.

Accessing full text articles in Databases

As databases are provided on a variety of different platforms, the routes to accessing the full text will vary. Some databases provide full text access to the articles themselves and you will see a link or PDF options available for each article record (usually located at the bottom of the record). Others will require you to use the "check for this option" to find out if the Library provides access to the full text. The following tabs show step by step instructions using the "check for option" on SportDiscus. 

Top tip:  Some databases have a limit to full text option to help you quickly filter to articles which are immediately available to read. 

1. Login to SportDiscus via the Database A-Z listing. Enter your keywords and click search.

2. Limit your search results to Academic Journals in the source types limiter.

You can also apply a publication date range if you need to limit your search to recent articles.

3. Each reference will have a check for this at Exeter button, click on the link to see if the full text is available.

A new window will open to check if full text is available. Sometimes you will be taken directly to the article, other times you may need to navigate the journal volumes / issues to locate the article you need. 

Finding full text for an article reference example

Sometimes you may know the article you are looking for but can't find / access the full text through a database record. Searching for the journal title on Library Search allows you to quickly check if we have access to the full text. 


In this example for the Research in Sports Medicine you can see we have online access which is provided by two different options:

  • current access via Taylor & Francis Online
  • archive access via Taylor & Francis Backfile

You will often find that journal coverage is split across journal and archive services.Remember you will need the year, volume / issue and page numbers to help you quickly locate the article you need.

Watch the video and / or follow the step by step instructions in the following tabs to locate a journal.  

Imagine you are looking for this article:

Horenstein, A., et al. (2019) Sleep quality and treatment of social anxiety disorder, Anxiety, Stress & Coping, 32:4, 387-398.

1. Use Library Search to search for the journal's title: Anxiety, stress and coping. This will show you if we have subscribed to online access.

2. Click on the "available online" link to show you the access options, then click on the date link below. This will open the publisher / providers site and allow you to browse to the article required.

3. You can find the article using the date, volume, and issue number of the article's reference e.g. 2019, vol. 32 Iss. 4. Open the relevant issue and scroll down the list of article to find the one you need. Then click on the PDF to access the full text.

Google Scholar

If you are searching in Google Scholar you can update your Google settings to show links to University of Exeter subscribed content. This will help you to locate full text articles quickly. See the following tab for guidance on how to update your settings. More advice about making the most of Google Scholar is available here.

To update your Google Scholar settings:

1. go to the settings and select Library Links,

2. type 'University of Exeter' into the search box,

3. check the University of Exeter box is ticked and click save.

When you run your search sometimes the link to the PDF will appear alongside the results (if available).

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