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Disability Research - Library Support

This guide introduces some key search tools and strategies that will be helpful whilst conducting your disability research



This guide introduces some key search 

tools and strategies that will be helpful

whilst conducting your disability research

What is an article?

An article is a piece of academic work published in a scholarly journal.  Articles are the publication of an author's own research (primary) or they can be a review of existing research (secondary).  Articles are written by researchers and experts in their field.

An academic article can be recognised by checking it contains following sections:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Discussion
  • References 

What is an academic journal?

Known as an academic, peer-reviewed, refereed or scholarly journal.  A journal is a scholarly periodical, relating to a specific academic discipline.  It is different than a magazine or a trade journal in that its intended readers are academics, researchers and students.  They can be considered an academic conversation on a chosen topic. 

Journals can be published electronically or in print form.  Nowadays most journals are in electronic form and are indexed in databases.

Not all journals are the same!

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What are Library Research Databases?


  • The library subscribes to over 300 research databases that allow you to access thousands of journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and more.
  • Research databases are online resources but the content is only available to Flinders University staff and students when you sign in with your FAN and password.
  • Can be multidisciplinary - e.g. Scopus or discipline specific e.g. CINAHL
  • Most health databases are citation only (they do not contain the full article) and you will need to use the FindIt@Flinders button to access our subscription.

The entry for each item (article) on the database is called a record and each record contains bibliographic information in fields such as:

  • author
  • title (article, book chapter, object)
  • source publication title
  • volume
  • issue/part number
  • date of publication
  • abstract
  • descriptors/ subject headings

Why do I need to use them?

Library research databases are the key tool to accessing most of the academic resources available in print and electronic format.

Most academic, peer reviewed, scholarly information is not freely available on the internet. You may discover an article through a Google search, but when you try to use it you will be asked to pay to access. By the library research databases you can access all this material, that we subscribe to on your behalf. 

How do I know which one to use?

  • The Find Databases link located on top right of the FindIt@Flinders search page provides an A-Z list of databases that also allows you to select databases by subject and by type.
  • The Liaison Librarian recommend the best databases in a subject area in the the Search Smart Subject guides. They also create specific topic search smart guides to help you discover and access resources for a research project or activity.
  • Ask a librarian or your subject specialist - supervisor, topic coordinator, tutor etc. what are the best databases in a particular research area.

Things to consider when using library research databases

  • Many search strategies can be used to make library research database searching more efficient.
  • Each database handles search strategies such as boolean operators and truncation in different ways.
  • All databases have excellent help pages and quick tips on how to apply a search.
Google Databases
  • Millions of results: not organised
  • More manageable number of results: organised and indexed
  • Unclear description of results
  • Organised and clear citations
  • Little control over results
  • More control over results: can limit by date, age etc
  • No special audience
  • A targeted audience
  • No review/editorial process
  • Articles are reviewed by scholars, professors and researchers
  • Free to use 
  • Subscription based (paid for by the University)


Disability Research - Library Support

Flinders University Library's picture
Flinders University Library
1300 354 633, option 3 library@flinders.edu.au


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