How to choose the right database

Use this guide to get started on your search. If you prefer an assisted search, the Library offers research support to campus staff and students. Contact us for more information or to make an appointment.

This information is just a starting point. The databases listed are not all the databases available at RCH (see the full list) or all the databases for your discipline.

Use our Fact Sheets as search guides. Ask a Librarian for expert help.

Discipline Most relevant Next relevant Additional
Medical/Biomedical Medline (Ovid) Embase (Ovid) PubMed (NLM)

The Cochrane Library
Nursing CINAHL (Ebsco) Medline (Ebsco) Nursing (Ovid)

Emcare (Ovid)

The Cochrane Library
Allied Health Medline (Ovid) For biomedical: Embase (Ovid)

For psychology: APA PsycINFO (Ovid)
CINAHL (Ebsco)

The Cochrane Library
Psychology APA PsycINFO (Ovid) Medline (Ovid) The Cochrane Library
Education ERIC (Ebsco) Medline (Ebsco)  
Unique Australian content, such as Indigenous population Health Collection (Informit)    

When is a database not a database?

When it's a company. For instance, are you using EbscoHost or Ovid to search Medline? Medline is the database, while EbscoHost and Ovid are companies that host this database (and many others) in their unique environment.

Why does it matter?

When you retrace your search steps another time, remembering only the name of the company won't get you back to the same database quickly; you must remember the name of the database you were searching in.

It also reduces the learning curve for a complex task.

For example: for a nursing topic, you would likely begin with the CINAHL database, then you may move on to search Medline as well. We have access to CINAHL only via EbscoHost so you would begin there. When moving on to search Medline, it makes sense to use EbscoHost's Medline, rather than Ovid's, so you won't need to learn how to use another interface.

Medline via CINAHL


Medline via EbscoHost


Medline via Ovid