Research skills

Identifying information

Online databases

In this context, a database is a collection of the publication details for a wide range of information resources. It will help you identify what has been published on a topic.

Databases can fall into two categories:

1. Full text

  • Provide the full text for some search results e.g. the complete journal article
  • Search for a topic and then view the full text of any relevant results online.

2. Abstract and indexing

  • Provide the publication details for any results
  • Usually provide an abstract which gives a summary of the full text.

You must use these brief details to decide if the item would be relevant to you. If it is, you will need to see if you can get hold of the full text. You could do this by seeing if a library has it or perhaps by searching the Internet. If necessary, you may want to buy the source for yourself. Many databases offer a combination of both options. Some results will be in full text, others will just give you an abstract.

The advantages of using the databases to locate information are:

  • Search a number of sources in one go
  • May get the full text online
  • Save you time on your searches
  • Print, save, email or export the results
  • Allow you to save searches and have them re-run with new results emailed to you.

The Library at Southampton Solent University gives you access to over 200 of these databases for free!  See the eResources section on the Library Portal for links to the databases available to you (see below).

Library eResources (Opens in new window)