Search for research literature
The library catalogue is a great place to start your search. It includes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, theses, video content and more.
You’ll need to use library databases to find specialised content that isn’t in the catalogue such as:
- case law
- drug information
- clinical information
- company information and financials
- research datasets.
Databases often have specialised search interfaces to help you find specific types of research literature. Check the database’s home page for search tips, tutorials and self-help guides.
Find a library database
Get direct access to your favourite database off-campus by searching for its title in the library catalogue. You can also browse our alphabetical list.
If you don't know which database to start in, browse our guides to databases and other resources for your discipline.
If you start your search on the open web, these tools will make it easier to access our subscribed resources.
You can set-up Google Scholar to access full text articles available via Griffith Library.
If you use the Chrome Browser you can install the LibKey Nomad browser extension to link you to full text.
Develop a list of keywords for your search by breaking down your research topic and question into key concepts. Ensure you capture the various terms that are used in your research field.
Brainstorm more keywords
Create a list of synonyms for your keywords, to allow your search to be comprehensive. Consult a thesaurus; there are plenty of free versions online. Talk to your supervisor, they can provide valuable input.
Include spelling variations
Include those words that have alternative spelling. There are differences between British English and American English spelling, such as colour and color. Some search tools automatically find both spellings, but you may need to include both versions.
If supported by the database, incorporate wild cards in your search to allow for spelling variations. A wildcard is a symbol used in the middle of a word, usually a question mark (?) or asterisk (*), but symbols vary depending on the search tool or database. When searching for a word like behaviour, using a wildcard symbol, for example, behavio?r finds all spelling variations.
Limit your search
Use limit options to refine your results and focus your search. Most search tools allow you to limit your results in a variety of ways, including by date, publication type, discipline and language.
Search for phrases
In some databases you can use quotation marks around multiple words to search for an exact phrase, for example "higher education". Use quotation marks in phrase searching to return more relevant results. This works best for two or three word phrases.
Find word variations
Find variations of your keyword using truncation. Adding a truncation symbol, usually the asterisk (*), to the main stem of the word, for example, teen* returns results that include teens, teenager, and teenaged. This is an easy way to find singular and plural forms of words and their different endings.
Combine keywords and synonyms
Search with Boolean operators, and, or and not, this allows you to combine different keywords or exclude terms. For example, training and education, train not railway.
Perfect your search with these tips
Strengthen your search
Check the references or bibliographies at the end of articles or book chapters to identify additional resources that may be useful for your research.
Explore Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules
Work through the modules to gain the skills needed to successfully complete your research project.
Got a great article? See how to find more.
Speak with your supervisor or team leader if you are undertaking a systematic-style review to ensure you use the correct approach for your discipline.
Record your search
Be strategic with your searching. This helps you logically structure your search process and saves time.
If you are conducting a systematic-style review, this kind of record is even more important as it will ensure you have covered everything you need.
Find information and support for all aspects of your copyright compliance obligations.
For help with your research technology, data science and technical infrastructure needs.
Office for research
For help with research grant funding opportunities, ethical and IP matters.
Attend a workshop targeted to support you throughout the research lifecycle.
Griffith University Research Methods Advisors
For advanced statistical advice.
Digital skills have never been more important. Discover your digital dexterity with our self-evaluation tool and identify areas you can improve.