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Midwifery Guide: Finding Information

This Guide has been created to help Midwifery students find useful Library Resources

How do I find information?

The following short video describes the benefits of using library resources and specialist databases, rather than just using Google.

The library search is a simple way to search for information resources, including journal articles. But sometimes you will need to use the additional, discipline-specific features provided by specialist databases to find the information that you need for your assignments.

  • Not all of the resources in specialist databases can be found using Library Search.

Subject-specific databases are ideal for searching the journal literature because they are tailored to a particular discipline, and therefore provide the ability to narrow your search in ways that wouldn't be possible in a general database or search tool like Library Search. They vary from each other on subject area, coverage, content types, geographical location, etc - so consider which database/s will be most likely to contain the kind of information you're looking for.

The peer-review process occurs when articles submitted for publication in scholarly journals are reviewed by experts in the same field. 

When looking for journal articles for assignments, you can limit your searches to scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles using the refining options available in Library Search (left hand side of the results screen) and library databases (check the advanced search options).

If you already have some articles that you want to check, you can use Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to find out if a journal is peer reviewed. Just type in the journal title (eg. Medical Journal of Australia) – not the article title – and you will be able to see if the journal is peer-reviewed by the little referee jumper symbol next to the title (peer-reviewed journals are sometimes called refereed journals).

earching for your keywords in Google will usually come up with lots and lots of results. But are they suitable to use as an information source (and reference) in academic assignments?

Use these evaluation criteria to assess online resources:

  1. Currency- when was the work published, is id out of date for the topic?
  2. Relevance- is it detailed analysis, what is the readership level
  3. Authority- who are the authors and their credentials- is it peer reviewed?
  4. Accuracy- can you verity the source, are there other sources cited in the bibliograpgy?
  5. Purpose- is there bias in the work, is there are particular perspective?

Choosing the best database for your search

Library Search is a simple way to search for information resources, including journal articles. But sometimes you will need to use the additional, discipline-specific features provided by specialist databases to find the information that you need for your assignments.

  • Not all of the resources in specialist databases can be found using Library Search.

Subject-specific databases are ideal for searching the journal literature because they are tailored to a particular discipline, and therefore provide the ability to narrow your search in ways that wouldn't be possible in a general database or search tool like Library Search. For example, in a medical database you can limit to clinical trials, or to age groups studied, or to evidence-based practice.

Databases vary in content and may include more than just journal articles. For example, systematic reviews, conference proceedings, book chapters, patient information sheets, theses, or drug information may also be covered.

On the first tab (home page) of the Midwifery LibGuide, you will find descriptions and links to some of the most popular and relevant databases you are likely to use during your studies. They vary from each other on subject area, coverage, content types, geographical location, etc - so consider which database/s will be most likely to contain the kind of information you're looking for.

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