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ACAP Library Pathfinder: Systematic Searching for a Review

This guide provides a methodology for planning and creating a multi-database search strategy for students who are writing a review.

Choosing Databases

Databases are important tools because they:

  • Allow you to systematically and comprehensively survey scholarly literature on a specific topic.
  • Are subject-focused collections of searchable references.
  • Can deliver up-to-date information or new findings on a subject, and full-text access to authoritative information. 
  • Provide a platform that allows you to search a large number of selected academic journals simultaneously, saving you time and effort.

You can find journal databases in ACAP MultiSearch A-Z Databases. It is recommended you start with EBSCOHost as it contains a broad range of different databases covering the areas of psychology, counseling and social work, and others.

Once you have chosen your database/s you can test your search strategy to see what results you find. Refer to the Search Strategies & Examples sections in this guide to learn about systematically constructing a search.

If you need more assistance identifying the best databases to suit your needs, try Search Smart - A free online guide based on your subject and searching preferences. 

Key Journal Databases

Other Databases & Indexes

Other databases

Depending on your topic, other free non-library subscription databases can be useful. If full text isn't available then you can request the article from ACAP Library.