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Literature searching explained

Decide where to search

Subject-specific databases are the most effective way to search for journal articles on a topic. However, you can also search the Library for common information sources, such as government documents, grey literature, patents and statistics.

Choose a database

Find the most appropriate databases for your subject

Databases help you to find a broad range of evidence, including peer-reviewed academic articles from all over the world, from many different publishers, and over a long time period.

Databases such as Scopus and Web of Science hold expansive records of research literature, including conference proceedings, letters and grey literature.

Many databases have links to full-text articles where the Library has a subscription.

Other information sources

Go to your subject-specific page to see the most appropriate information sources listed for your subject area. You may need to explore more than one subject page if your topic is multi-disciplinary.

We've also compiled some guidance on how to find common information sources.

You may find it useful to make a list of which information sources you want to search to find information for your research; a search activity template (DOCX) can help you do this.