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Where to Search

Knowing where to search is just as important as knowing how to search.  The following video will help you to understand why and when to use different search tools.

 Video Length: 2 minutes 14 seconds

  • Knowing where to search is just as important as knowing how to search.
  • Not all search tools will give you access to the same information.
  • Understanding why and when to use different search tools will save you time.
  • The Library Catalogue:
    • is a good place to search for scholarly material.
    • provides free access to a variety of resources types across a range of subject areas.
  • Databases:
    • help focus your search and have more advanced searching options.
  • Google Scholar:
    • provides access to a wide range of resources, but not all of it is scholarly. 
    • use the Google Scholar link from the Library website for best access to full-text references.
  • Some types of specific information are best found using a search engine or specific website.
  • All resources need to be evaluated before using them.

Library collection


The Library Collection is a good place to start your search for scholarly material. You can use it to find eBooks, journal articles, reports, videos and more.

Using the "Refine my results" menu, you can refine your search to find exactly what you need.

Want to Know More?

Watch this short video about using the Library Collection  (1:48)
Practise using the library collection with our Interactive Tutorial  (15 min.)


Databases are online collections of resources including articles, papers, book chapters and reports. Databases have advanced search options, helping to focus your search and find more relevant, scholarly references quickly.

Want to Know More?

Read: How to Save Time Searching Databases (PDF)

Peer reviewed journals

  What are peer reviewed/scholarly sources?

It is likely that at some point in your studies you will be asked to find 'scholarly', 'peer reviewed', or 'academic' sources.

What does this mean? These terms are often used interchangebly, but they are not always the same thing. Scholarly or Academic is an umbrella term used for different kinds of authoritative and credible sources including:

  • articles from journals (including peer reviewed journals)
  • academic books
  • grey literature - e.g. government reports

Peer reviewed (refereed) journals are of high quality. Each article has gone through an evaluation process with experts in the field before being published.

 Want to know more?

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches only within academic or scholarly sites, rather than the whole internet. By accessing Google Scholar from within the Library Website search box, you will be able to link directly to articles that the library has access to by clicking on the Full-text at UniSA link.

Want to Know More?

Visit the library's Searching for your Literature Review Guide for videos and tips.
Practise using Google Scholar with our Interactive Tutorial (10 min.)

Find More Information

   Find News Media

The Library's News Media Guide provides help searching and evaluating a wide range of Australian and International news media including newspapers, television, radio and media releases.  Start your search with:

   Find Statistics

A huge range of statistical resources can be found via the Library collection and databases.  

OR when searching databases or the collection for statistics, simply add the word 'statistics' into your search.

 Find Videos

Access to a wide range of video content through a number of key video databases, including:

OR When searching the library collection, use the Tweak my Results menu to refine the Resource Type to Audio Visual

   Find Conference Papers

Conference papers or proceedings are the written version of presentations given at conferences or meetings or professional or scholarly bodies and organisations. Conference papers can be a great way to find up to date information, research trends and innovations on a specific topic because researchers often present their findings first at conferences.

To search for conference papers:

  • Include the words conference and/or proceedings in your search.
  • Refine your results by type or format to limit your results to conference proceedings.
  • Search the Conference proceedings citation index database.
  • Search the websites of specific conferences or organisations.

Select Appropriate References

While you are finding references, you need to think about whether they are appropriate to use in your assignment.  You may be asked to use Scholarly or Peer Reviewed material to support your arguments. 

You should evaluate all resources  before including them in your assignment - even if you found them through the Library Collection or Databases.