To start a more detailed search for articles and other research evidence, you'll need to use online databases. These are collections of resources that allow you to search for articles from hundreds of different journals at the same time.
To get the most out of searching the databases you need to plan your search in advance and think about which keywords you are going to use. Use the tutorials on the right-hand side of the page to learn more about this.
One of the most common academic sources is the journal article. Researchers publish their research in academic journals which usually cover a specific discipline. Some journals have stronger reputations and more rigorous editorial controls than others.
Most good quality journals (and even some bad ones) employ a process called peer-review whereby submitted articles are vetted by a panel of fellow experts in the field. The peer-review panel may demand extensive re-writes of an article to bring it to an acceptable standard for publication. Flaws in the methodology may be highlighted and the author will then have to address these in the text. The result should be that the published work is reliable and of a high standard, and this is usually the case (though not always, as this blog post on the problems with Peer Review explains). Many databases will let you filter to exclude work that hasn't been peer-reviewed.
You could read every journal that's published on your subject, but that's probably a lot of journals. Fortunately, there are databases which catalogue the contents of a selection of journals. You can search these databases to find the articles that will be of use to you.
Planning your search can help you find everything you need. Identify which terms are necessary to include in your search, and consider different ways in which those concepts could be expressed...
Most databases allow you to enter elaborate controlled searches using special words and characters ("operators")...
Search for academic materials like journal articles, peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports.
When you use a campus-networked PC, Google Scholar will automatically link to the University of York library catalogue and display articles where we have full-text access. When off campus, you will need to select University of York - Full Text @ York in the Settings option (under Library Links).
Watch our Google Scholar video for more information.