Which databases should I search? A strategy for selecting appropriate sources

It can be difficult to decide which databases are the best source of information for a particular question. This KBA provides a strategy to determine appropriate databases to search based on the purpose and topic area of your question.

What is the purpose of my search?

  • Looking for articles, editorials, or reviews
  • Looking for books
  • Looking to see if anyone has cited a particular article
  • To conduct a formal review, such as a systematic or scoping review

What is my topic area?

  • Medicine, nursing or dental medicine
  • Public health, sociomedical sciences or social sciences
  • Other

Given the purpose of my search and topic area, which databases might be relevant?

Looking for articles, editorials, or reviews:

1. Medicine, nursing or dental medicine
2. Public health, sociomedical sciences or social sciences
3. Other topics

Looking for books:

1. Medicine, nursing or dental medicine
2. Public health, sociomedical sciences or social sciences
3. Other topics

Looking to see if anyone has cited an article:

Conducting a formal review, such as a systematic or scoping review:

  • Identify appropriate databases by looking at published reviews on similar research topics in your target journals or prominent journals in your field.
  • Talk to an advisor or mentor in your field to learn what databases they search.
  • Contact an Informationist at the Health Sciences Library to discuss further