How To: Databases

Alright. Honesty time: Before university, I had never ever encountered a database. Well, a scholarly one with journal articles and valid resources anyway. So when my lecturers and demonstrators were like, “no, you cannot use Google and even more, you cannot use websites as sources for your supporting facts and arguments”…. I was literally this man:


I learned a lot about databases on the fly. I don’t recall being taught this extensively during my first few weeks or even year at university so if you don’t know too much about how to use it, you’ve come to the right place. I (and therefore, you, as well) shall muddle through this tutorial as best as I can.

First off, what are databases?


They are primarily collections of online (or scanned physical) journals where you can search for articles to be of use to you. Databases are often subject-specific and may contain entire text of articles or may also only contain abstracts. The papers in these databases are credible and reliable sources that will only improve the text that you are writing.

How do I use them?

Before anything else, make the library’s website your best friend. It will only ever save your life, trust me. Now, once on the homepage you’ll see a button for databases. Click on that and you will get this:

The different databases that the uni has on hand are alphabetised. If you already have a database in mind that you want to check out, it should be under the first letter of its name. But if not, you can click on the Subject area drop down menu.






I usually scroll right down to the Science, Technology, and Engineering heading because a lot of topics connected to the papers I’m writing will usually be found there.











Another easy way could be just to freehand type whatever topic you want and the bar should take you to it. Say for example, I’m writing a report on antibiotic mechanisms, that would most likely fall on medical sciences. I’ll put that in and the tool will come up with a list of databases that would best cater to your needs.

You just pick whatever database you prefer. Sign in with your Student ID and password and you’ll have access to truckloads and truckloads of papers, studies, journal articles, reviews, chapters, etc. that are sure to have credible and valid information.

Recommended databases: PubMed, ScienceDirect, and WileyOnlineLibrary. Google Scholar is also a good one for initial and baseline researches.


I hope this helps because it sure helped me write better and understand a lot of concepts well because I had facts to support what I was saying. Good luck! Smash that report!