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Introductory guide to print and electronic resources for Architecture students.

Using databases for research

Research databases are organised collections of digital information that can be easily searched, such as journal articles, books, or images. Databases can be general or subject specific, and can include citations, or abstracts (short summaries), and/or full text articles and books. The sources indexed may be written by scholars, professionals or generalists.

Unlike a general Google search, using a database means you can be sure the information you find is high-quality and reliable. Finding 'scholarly' resources is also easier through a database.

There are many types of databases that you can use for your research. The database you choose will depend on what type of information you want to find. Once you choose a database, use keywords on your topic to search. Then try using the 'filter' options, such as publication date, content type, or subject area to refine your results.

Key Databases for Architecture

Using Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a subset of Google which searches specifically for scholarly material on the web. 

It locates journal articles, theses and dissertations, books, conference papers and other research material from a variety of sources including academic publishers, professional societies, institutional repositories and databases.

Its coverage is strongest in science, technology and medicine.


  • Useful when searching "Grey Literature" such as conference proceedings
  • Enables interdisciplinary searches
  • Accesses multiples types of documents (articles, books, conference proceedings)
  • Helps identify who is publishing in particular areas of research
  • Results are ranked by relevancy

Be aware that:

  • Content is not always equivalent to the scholarly or peer-reviewed content in databases
  • Difficult to perform a specific search with precise results
  • Gaps in coverage - a lot of information is not freely available on the web
  • Citations can be incomplete, and can only be exported one at a time


Full text linking

Google Scholar allows you to set Google Scholar preferences to link to the full text of articles cited in Google Scholar which are available from Monash University Library. Follow these steps to ensure full text links show in your search results, so you can avoid getting stuck at paywalls.