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Sports Science: Get to know your Databases: Home

This guide will introduce the databases most relevant for Sports Science research. Each database entry is accompanied by a brief description so you can find out what is included and why it might be useful to your research.

Databases 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. The databases you search will be influenced by your topic and its research focus.

Searching databases generally isn't as simple as searching Google. For the best results, learning how to use advanced search techniques will help you get more relevant information.

Once you have familiarised yourself with the databases available and how to access them, you should complete the effective library research tutorial to develop your search skills.

Core Sports Science database

SportDiscus is a large bibliographic database for sports, sports medicine and related research. Subject coverage includes nutrition, physical therapy, occupational health, exercise physiology and kinesiology.

Health Sciences and Medical databases

Many health sciences and medical databases content relevant literature for sports science and related subjects. For example:

  • Medline (Ovid) covers all aspects of human medicine and related research,
  • CINAHL focuses on healthcare literature,
  • APA PsycInfo (via Ovid) provides psychology and behavioural sciences literature. 


Multidisciplinary research databases

Multidisciplinary research databases cover a range of subject areas. You can use them to discover the global literature on a wide variety of topics. For example: 

  • Web of Science 
  • Scopus

They are not full text databases, but you can use them to discover published material and follow links through to discover the full text available on other services.

Getting started with databases

  • Access via A to Z database list.  

  • Sort list by subject to see a tailored range of resources (core resources displayed first e.g. SportDiscus).

  • The databases you search will be influenced by your topic and its research focus.

  • Click on the i (information icon)  to find out more about each database. 

  • Click on a database name and login with your University email address and password for access.

Database 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:

Use the limiter / filter options to help focus your results to the most relevant materials. Typical database filters include: 

  • Publication date: Limit results to those published in a relevant date range.
  • Source type: Filter results by type; e.g. academic journal, conference paper, report, thesis etc.
  • Publication title: View results from specific publication.
  • Subject: Filter results by associated subject 'tags'.

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 see the Finding full text articles libguide. 

  • Databases are provided on a variety of different platforms. 

  • Watch the introductory videos on the following tabs to find out more. 

  • Familiarise yourself with each and explore the different search options available. 

  • Use the databases help section to explore the search functionality and filter options available.

Databases that use this platform: SportDiscus and CINAHL Complete. 

Databases that use this platform: APA PsycInfo and Ovid MedLine. 

This video provides a quick introduction, for in depth guidance on searching Ovid explore the Searching Ovid LibGuide.

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