Research Tools

There are a range of pathways that you can use to find the information you need.

You may find one research tool easier to use than others, and often you'll find that taking multiple pathways into the literature gives you the best results. 

Library Search lets you seamlessly search the library's print and online resources. Find books, journal articles, streaming media, textbooks, audio, theses, and more. More information on what’s includedLibrary Search is a great starting point for finding the information you need. View the guide to using Library Search.


For greater precision and comprehensiveness in your search, databases are a great option. Databases are online collections of resources that you can search to find information. They may focus on a particular subject area or cover a range of subject areas.

Subject-specific databases may offer additional search options tailored for that particular subject area and can provide you with better search results. For example, PubMed, one of the major databases in medicine, lets you search using MeSH terms in addition to the standard keyword search option.

View an alphabetical list of databases or find a database that focuses on your subject area.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar searches for scholarly resources including journal articles, theses, eBooks, conference proceedings and patents. By using Google Scholar you will find both freely available materials as well as materials available via the University of Adelaide Library. When on campus you will usually be able to access the full text of articles and eBooks to which the library provides access. When off campus, access to the full text of articles and eBooks is slightly more complicated - see the access note below.

  • Google Scholar access note

    If you are off campus you will need to log in to ADAPT to seamlessly link through to the full-text of journal articles.

    If you are off campus and are not using ADAPT, you won’t be able to access the full-text of many of the articles from within Google Scholar (you’ll get a message saying that the article is not available – or they’ll ask you to login or pay to access it). You will need to go to Library Search and search for the article in order to access the full-text.

    Enable Full Text @ Adelaide links

    To see what is available via the library when you search Google Scholar, you need to set up your Google Scholar preferences as follows:

    1. Go to Google Scholar.
    2. Click on Settings (either from the top of the Scholar home page, or from the drop-down on the right hand side of the results page).
    3. Choose Library Links.
    4. Type ‘University of Adelaide’ into the search box, and select the following boxes:
      • The University of Adelaide - Full Text @ Uni Adelaide.
      • University of Adelaide Library - Cengage Gale Full Text.
      • University of Adelaide - ProQuest Full text.

    Now whenever you search Google Scholar, you should see Full Text @ Adelaide links next to article citations, letting you know that those articles are available in or via the library. 

Subject guides

Subject guides provide a great starting point when you are looking for information. Created by the library's subject experts (our liaison librarians) subject guides bring together the most useful resources and search techniques for a particular subject area. Whether you are studying Anthropology or Mechanical Engineering, there is a subject guide to get you started. 

View subject guides