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Occupational Therapy Research @ Pacific University Library

The Basics.

Finding Full-Text Articles

What are journals?

Journals are important sources of information for academic study and research providing up-to-date or detailed information on a subject. Sometimes referred to as periodicals or serials, journals may be in electronic or print format. The most efficient way of identifying relevant journal articles are through searching research databases. For more information, see our A-Z database list.

How to search a database

1. Start at the A-Z Database list. Choose your subject area,

2. Select a database. Clicking on a database will open a new tab.

3. Enter your search terms in the database search box. Tip: Use keywords and subject headings to improve your search results.

4. As you browse the results, look for these icons Adobe PDF icon html full text icon screenshot of open access icon in order to access the full text of articles. You can also click on Pacific University icon

5. If no icons listed, place your request with ILLiad, Pacific University's Interlibrary Loan system.  

These are just a few of the excellent journals with relevant research available through the Library

  • OTDBase Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    OTDBabase is an only online indexing and search service that contains over 10,000 abstracts from more than 20 global OT journals since 1970.
  • CINAHL Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    The Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health (CINAHL) database provides authoritative coverage of the literature related to nursing and allied health.
    CINAHL Video Tutorial: Click Here
  • MEDLINE Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    MEDLINE is the U.S. National Library of Medicine's (NLM) premier bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences.
    MEDLINE Video Tutorial: Click Here
  • PsycINFO Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    PsycINFO covers the professional and academic literature in psychology and related disciplines including medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, and other areas.
    For a brief PsychINFO tutorial click here
  • Social Services Abstracts   Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    Social Services Abstracts (SSA) provides bibliographic coverage of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development.
    SSA Video Tutorial: Click Here
  • AgeLine Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    AgeLine® focuses exclusively on the population aged 50+ and issues of aging. AgeLine is a source for the literature of social gerontology and includes aging-related content from the health sciences, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, and public policy. AgeLine also includes information for professionals working in aging-related fields and for consumers.
    AgeLine Video Tutorial: Click Here
  • Web of Science Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    Web of Science (WOS) is the online version to the highly respected Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index. Great to use if you have one good article and you want to find other articles that it cites (or that have cited it)!
    WOS Video Tutorial: Click Here
  • Sociological Abstracts Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    Indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social & behavioral sciences. Indexes articles from over 1,800 serials publications. 
    Contains abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers.
    For a more information on Sociological Abstracts, Click here
  • Alt HealthWatch Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    Focuses on the many perspectives of complementary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care and wellness.
  • ERIC Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    * 1,000+ educational journals with links to 807 full-text titles
    * Links to 107,000+ ERIC documents (1993-present)
  • ClinicalKey   Edit/Delete Quick Stats
    Contains materials designed to keep physicians and other healthcare professionals abreast of current developments in medicine, reviews of new clinical trials accompanied, current therapy reviews. Considered a clinical decision support resource.

CINAHL Subject Headings

The CINAHL subject headings are based on the MeSH headings, with additional specific nursing and allied health headings added as appropriate. Each year, the headings are updated and revised relative to terminology used in these fields. In addition, new terms from MeSH, the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings, may be added as well.


MeSH is the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary terminology. MeSH stands for  Medical Subject Headings.

MeSH descriptors are arranged in both an alphabetic and a hierarchical structure. At the most general level of the hierarchical structure are very broad headings such as "Anatomy" or "Mental Disorders." More specific headings are found underneath the Broad terminology, e.g. "Anatomy - Ankle"; "Anatomy - Knee" or "Mental Disorders - Conduct Disorder." You may search using keywords or MeSH terminology.

* Don't try just one!

Search multiple databases - each database indexes a different collection of journals/sources.

* “Synonomize” 

Don’t feel tied to a specific term – think of alternatives, and loosely associated terms.

* Start big… 

Start your search with general terms – it’s easier to narrow down 1,000 results than it is to expand 0.

*…but keep it small

Don’t use phrases or overly complex search strings.

*"Speak the database's language"! 

When you find a good article, look at the subject terms or keywords that the database has used to index that article.  Use those terms in a new search.  Speak the database's language - it'll respond.