Physiotherapy: Journal articles

Why search databases?

Bike image 2 [Source: Dollar photo club,]Library databases are search tools for finding articles, papers, reports, book chapters and more. Databases can be discipline specific (such as SportDiscus), or multidisciplinary (such as Scopus). Many contain full text material, or the reference and abstract only. Scholarly references are best found in databases.


Some key databases to search:

Before you search analyse your research question. Consider:

  1. The main concepts in your question. You can use these as search terms.
  2. Any synonyms (similar keywords) you could also include in your search.
  3. Any words you need to define.
  4. Plurals or different word endings for any search terms.

Find different word endings or spellings in databases by using:

  • Truncation - for different word endings e.g. exercis* finds exercise, exercises, exercising...
  • Wildcards - find different words spellings e.g. ag?ing  ageing or aging

Combine your keywords, using the connectors OR / AND, when searching.


physiotherapy OR physical therapy 


headache* OR migraine*

Quick guides:

Adrian Wressell, ‘A patient doing physiotherapy exercises in a gym’, CC Licence: by-nc-nd 2.0 UK: England & Wales ((,Image source: Wellcome Images (

You can use EndNote, or RefWorks software to create a library of references and do your referencing in a Word document.

The Library Catalogue and most databases allow you to import references into EndNote or RefWorks.


Grey literature