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Information Essentials: Database scholarly materials

What are databases?

Research databases are organised collections of digital information or data such as journal articles, books, images and multimedia that can be searched to retrieve information. Databases can be general or subject oriented with bibliographic citations, abstracts, and/or full text.

These databases contain scholarly and peer-reviewed articles written by credible authors, such as journalists, researchers and experts in their field. Since databases provide powerful search tools for narrowing results, users are better able to quickly find the information they need.

What is a scholarly database?

Scholarly Databases are a searchable collection of works and resources focused on a specific academic criteria.

Types of Scholarly Databases

Different databases: It's important to note that different databases cover various types of literature. Some focus on books, while others specialise in journal articles, conference papers, or specific types of resources. Exploring different databases can expand the range of literature you can access, so consider utilising multiple databases to conduct comprehensive research.

Subject Databases

These focus on a narrow range of subjects, usually closely related. These databases are useful to help focus your search as the resources there are focused on a specific subject and the related concepts. These databases will also allow you to use more subject specific keywords as subject terms. 

Use Subject Databases to find articles that are focused on research or discussion around your subject of interest. 

Use the FindIt@ECU link to search ECU Library Search for access to these articles. 

What is an Academic Journal?

Academic or Scholarly journals are serial works that have a consistent cover title, and are published at regular intervals. Individual articles may be written by different authors, and are generally related to the topic of the journal. Journal articles generally contain specific and more up-to- date information than is found in books. These journals are published to disseminate research findings and are written to target the scholarly or research community. 

Scholarly journals often undergo a peer-review process where experts in the subject area will review the contents of articles to make sure the research process and findings are accurate. 

Types of Academic Journal Articles

Academic journals will publish a range of articles depending on the research performed. In a journal you may find:

  • Original Research - Commonly primary research or observations of data.
  • Reviews - Analysis or summary of other research existing on a specific topic. 
  • Opinion Pieces - Researchers may express their opinions or commentary on certain topics. These do not undergo comprehensive research procedures.  
  • Reports - Examination of an issue, event, or business providing information, analysis and recommendations on the subject.
  • Case Studies - Observation of a phenomena such as an event or patient.

Be sure to check what type of article you have when searching and reading journal articles.

How do I find Journals and Journal Articles?

To find these you can:

  • Use scholarly databases which are a collection of scholarly journals and other material around your subject. 
  • Access services that purchase these journals and articles such as the ECU Library.
  • Visit the Library's Subject Guides to find a selection of journal and articles relevant to your subject.
  • Explore online using Google Scholar. 

Be aware that a lot of journals will require you to pay to access. Check if the article is available through ECU Library by searching the title using ECU Library Search.

Some journals may publish using an Open Access model. This means you can freely access these articles without a subscription or logging in.

You can find a list of the Journals available through ECU in our Journal Collection lists.

Evaluating Journals

There are a large range of journals and similar works out there and they may vary in terms of peer-review and quality. 

To check whether a journal is peer reviewed you can choose one of the following options:

  1. Use the limit option "peer reviewed" in ECU Library Search
  2. Check the journal website. This information is normally included in "about the journal".
  3. Check the journal title in Ulrichsweb: global serials directory database.

What is an Academic Book?

Academic books provide comprehensive coverage of a topic and offer extensive background information, theoretical frameworks, and in-depth analysis. They often provide a broader perspective and can be valuable for understanding complex subjects and historical context. Book chapters, on the other hand, allow you to focus on specific aspects of a broader topic.

  • Textbooks are comprehensive books that cover a particular subject or field of study in a systematic manner that provide essential knowledge and concepts within a discipline.
  • Edited collections are books that contain chapters written by multiple authors and are edited by one or more editors that bring together various perspectives and insights on a specific theme or research area.
  • Reference books, such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and handbooks, provide concise information, definitions, and summaries on specific topics.
  • Literature reviews summarise and synthesise existing research on a specific subject or field and provide an overview of the key studies, theories, and debates.

How do I find Books and Book Chapters?

To find these you can:

  • Use scholarly or ebook databases which have collections of ebooks for research, teaching and learning around your subject.
  • Access services that purchase these books such as ECU Library.
  • Visit the Library's Subject Guides to find a selection of books relevant to your subject.
  • Explore online using Google.

You can find out more about the eBooks available through ECU in our eBooks and Digital Resources guide.

What is a Trade Publication?

Trade publications are industry-specific magazines that cater to professionals within a particular field. They offer practical insights, case studies, and industry trends. While they may not be as scholarly as journals, they provide valuable information on current practices, emerging trends, and real-world applications of research.

  • Industry reports are publications that provide in-depth analysis and market research on specific industries or sectors that offer insights into market size, trends, competitive landscape, consumer behavior, and other relevant factors.
  • Conference proceedings compile papers, presentations, and research findings presented at industry-specific conferences and provide access to cutting-edge research, innovative practices, and emerging trends within a particular field.
  • Professional magazines and newsletters are regular publications that provide updates, news, and insights on a particular field and offer articles, interviews, and features that highlight industry trends, challenges, and innovations.

How do I find Trade Publications and Magazines?

To find these you can:

  • Explore online using a search engine like Google by searching for professional associations and organisations, and industry conferences and events relevant to your subject area.
  • Access services that index these publications such as ECU Library.
  • Visit the Library Subject Guides to find trade publications relevant to your subject.
  • Visit Ulrichsweb and search for trade publications for your subject.

What is a Newspaper Article?

Newspaper articles provide current and timely information on a wide range of topics. They cover a variety of subjects, including local, national, and international news, politics, business, culture, and more. Newspaper articles can be useful for gathering recent information, diverse perspectives, and understanding public opinion on a particular issue.

  • News articles are standard articles that report on recent events, developments, or issues that provide factual information, often presenting a balanced view of different perspectives.
  • Feature articles are longer, more in-depth pieces that explore a specific topic or issue in detail and often include interviews, analysis, and provide a deeper understanding of a subject.
  • Investigative reports are in-depth articles that uncover new information or expose hidden aspects of a topic that involve thorough research, interviews, and analysis to reveal insights or expose wrongdoing.

How do I find Newspaper Articles?

  • Explore online using a search engine like Google by searching for online newspaper websites.
  • Access services that purchase online newspaper databases such as ECU Library.
  • Visit the Library's News and Current Affairs guide to find news and newspaper articles relevant to your subject.
  • Visit your local library that generally have collections of regional and local newspapers.

What is a Video or Television Clip?

Videos or television clips can offer visual and auditory content that enhances your understanding of a topic. They provide access to interviews, documentaries, news reports, and other media presentations. TV clips can be especially helpful for topics that benefit from visual demonstrations or when studying media representation and communication.

  • Documentaries are non-fictional video productions that explore specific subjects, issues, or events in a detailed and informative manner to present a comprehensive analysis of a particular topic.
  • Video interviews with subject matter experts, scholars, or individuals relevant to a particular research topic can provide direct perspectives, opinions, and insights from knowledgeable individuals.
  • Conference presentations captured on video can provide access to talks, lectures, or panel discussions by experts in a specific field and often offer cutting-edge research, insights, and discussions on various topics.
  • Video essays or analysis created by scholars, content creators, or experts can present critical analysis, interpretations, or commentary on various subjects.

How do I find Videos or Television Clips?

  • Use streaming databases which have collections of videos and television clips for research, teaching and learning around your subject.
  • Access services that purchase subscriptions to these video and clips such as ECU Library.
  • Explore online using YouTube.

How to find databases in ECU Library

ECU Library's collection of databases indexes a wide range of journals, ebooks, conference papers, and standards in multiple disciplines. Click on the button below our Library Search box to access the ECU database listings:

There are almost 300 databases to choose from. Narrow down by subject or database type. If you know which one you need you can also search for it:

If you don't know where to start use the Subjects drop down menu at the top of the screen to find a Subject Library Guide for your school of study.

The Librarian for your school has chosen a selection of databases relevant to your topic area:


See also

Searching databases by Yavapai College Library