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Searching for journal articles (and other sources) in databases

Informit Online provides access to multiple smaller Australian databases which can be searched simultaneously.

Click here to search only the twelve Informit databases most relevant to Indigenous Peoples.

Note: while the majority of articles refer to Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Australian First Nations Peoples, some articles are about Indigenous and First Nations Peoples in other countries, but published in Australian journals or written by Australian researchers.

Change to Advanced Search. Optional: choose the type of results e.g. only journal articles.

screenshot of Informit interface indicating Advanced Search tab and result type drop-down

Type each concept on its own line. Separate different words for the same concept with OR (use upper case OR, else Informit searches for the word 'or').

Use asterisk (*, Shift+8) for truncation (any possible word ending) e.g. teen* finds teen, teens, teenagers.

Use double quotation marks for finding phrases (clumps of multiple words) e.g. searching for "climate change" (with the quotation marks) guarantees that climate change is in each result instead of finding climate and change separately.

screenshot of Informit interface with tips about using * for truncation and double quotation marks for phrases

To read the full text of any result:

  • Click on FULL TEXT PDF to read the PDF directly in Informit.
  • Click on FULL TEXT (WEB) to be linked directly to the original publication online.
  • Click on SFX to check if Federation University Library has the article available through its many other subscriptions.

screenshot of Informit interface indicating examples of different links to full text

Click on the title of any result to see most of the information you will need for referencing (you might have to look for a DOI or web address separately), although you will need to reformat the reference into APA style. Check FedCite for more detail on correct citing and referencing.

screenshot of full record in Informit, indicating information for referencing

Searching for journal articles (and other sources) in QuickSearch

Searching QuickSearch for indigenous health issues.

Click here to go to QuickSearch Advanced.

Alternatively, in QuickSearch, click the ADVANCED SEARCH link.

screenshot of QuickSearch basic search page with Advanced Search link indicated


Click here for more tips and guidance on using QuickSearch

Put each concept on a separate line. Click ADD A NEW LINE for more lines.

Put alternative words for the same concept on the same line, separated by OR (use uppercase OR, as lowercase or will search for the word 'or').

Use double quotes around "multiple words as a phrase" and use asterisk (*,  or Shift+8) for truncation (accepts any word ending e.g. teen* finds teen, teens, teenage, teenagers). 


Optional: You can also limit by year or publication, and by only articles as the type of result.

To limit to indigenous issues, include a search line such:

indigen* OR aborigin* OR "torres strait islander*" OR "first nations"

Optional: Because you will also find articles about Indigenous Peoples and First Nations Peoples from other countries, you can also add a search line with Australia* (Note that this might miss some articles where the article is about Australia but the author never mentions the word 'Australia')

screenshot of QuickSearch Advanced page, indicating radio button limit to articles only, publication date limit, search lines, and link to add a new search line

Depending on your needs, limit to only Peer-reviewed articles (almost all online), or other Resource types e.g. books), and/or by Topic, and/or by Creation Date (year of publication)

Click the green Full text available link to access the full text of any article.

screenshot of QuickSearch results, indicating limit for peer-reviewed journals, publication date, topic, and link under result items to Full text available

This will take you to an intermediate page, there should be some full-text link, the blue Go buttons (in some cases the article is available through multiple suppliers, if one is temporarily unavailable, try another source (a different Blue Go button

screenshot of SFX intermediate page between QuickSearch and full text provider or publisher

This might take you to another intermediate page, look for a link that says PDF or has the PDF logo.

screenshot of publisher page indicating PDF link (PDF is a single downloadable printable file)

If you click the Citation (double quotation mark)  icon beside any result in QuickSearch, you will get a machine-generated reference - this is often not completely correct (missing author initials, only the starting page number and not the ending page number, incorrect title capitalisation). Have a look at FedCite or the Learning Skills handout to check the reference.

screenshot of QuickSearch results indicating citation icon and showing citation results from clicking on that icon

Found one good article and looking for related articles? Use the 'Y' icons! With the arrow pointing down, look back in time for older items used in this article's list of references. With the arrows pointing up, look forward in time for more recent items that have used this article as one of their references.

screenshot of QuickSearch results indicating icons for citing this and cited in this

Searching for journal articles (and other sources) in Google Scholar

Using Google Scholar

Click here for tips on searching Google Scholar

In Google Scholar, you can use Boolean AND and OR, and double quotation marks for "multi-word phrases", but you cannot use an asterisk for truncation. You will also have to put your search all on one line.

For example:

diabetes AND (teen OR teenage OR adolescent OR youth) AND (indigenous OR aboriginal OR "torres strait islander" OR "first nations")

Because you will also find articles about Indigenous Peoples and First Nations Peoples in other countries, you might want to add AND Australia to the end of your search (however, this might miss some articles that are about Australia but where the author has not explicitly used the word 'Australia' in their article).

For example:

diabetes AND (teen OR teenage OR adolescent OR youth) AND (indigenous OR aboriginal OR "torres strait islander" OR "first nations") AND Australia

Click the Settings option (may be showing on its own but more likely to be under the three-line menu icon)

screenshot, Google Scholar, indicating Settings option

Click on the Library links option, and search for federation

screenshot indicating Library links option and search box (with federation already typed in)

Tick the checkbox for Federation University Australia, and (important!) click the Save button.

screenshot showing results of search for word federation and indicating Save button

If you are logged into a Google account (GMail, etc), this setting will be saved permanently.
Otherwise, you might have to redo this setup every time you restart your web browser to use Google Scholar.

Depending on your topic, this might make many more full-text resources available in your Google Scholar results, resources that the Library has paid for.

screenshot, Google Scholar results list, indicating full text access, both Library paid subscription links and open access links

After clicking the buttons and reading the sections above, try searching Google Scholar yourself:

Google Scholar - journal articles and other material (as detailed above, you can link Google Scholar to the Library's paid full-text subscriptions)


Google Scholar has a citation feature, but always check the citation it supplies. It may be incorrect (no upper case letter to start a subtitle, for example) or incomplete (missing the DOI, for example).

Click the quotation mark icon to pop up a window (unless blocked by pop-up settings in your web browser) containing a reference list entry in several referencing styles. These are automatically generated and are often incorrect. Check FedCite for more detail on correct citing and referencing.

screenshots from Google Scholar, indicating citation icon and showing the pop-up window

Underneath many articles in your Google Scholar results will be a Cited by link - this points to newer articles that have used the article in their reference list. Some of these (but not all) may be on the same topic, so it can be another way of finding newer relevant articles.

This can also be a rough guide to how much impact an article has had - articles with more impact tend to be cited more.

screenshot, Google Scholar, showing Cited by link underneath an article in the results list

Finding government reports (including reports containing statistics)

I know, I know, we told you not to use Google for your assignments

However, Google has some great features for searching for government reports, policies, statistics and other useful documents. (But please do not rely on using Google for all your references.)

  • Use technical or professional terms to get more technical or professional results. For example, when looking for disease statistics, use incidence rather than numbers or statistics (or maybe prevalence might be more relevant).
  • Use (double) quotation marks to define phrases (multiple words found together, rather than separately) - use "whooping cough" to find the exact phrase rather then whooping cough (which might find he started to cough after whooping for joy).
  • Add to restrict results to only government websites.

incidence "whooping cough"

Try it in Google


You can also:

  • use to restrict to Victorian government web sites.
  • use a year range to look for years in the results, such as daterange:2012-2015
  • specify the filetype of results (such as only PDF documents).

incidence "whooping cough" daterange:2014-2016 filetype:PDF

Try it:  

You can also use parentheses (round brackets) and OR for alternative terms (works best at the end of the search line):

incidence daterange:2014-2016 filetype:PDF ("whooping cough" OR pertussis)

Try it:  

Remember about using professional or technical terms to find professional results? Try leaving out whooping cough and only searching for the medical term for the condition, pertussis.

incidence daterange:2014-2016 filetype:PDF pertussis

Try it:  

We can also exclude a search term from our results (similar to using NOT in a database) by putting a hyphen or minus sign in front of the word (or phrase in quotes). For example, to exclude results that include the word Melbourne, we can use -Melbourne

incidence daterange:2014-2016 filetype:PDF pertussis -Melbourne

Try it:  


Warning: excluding results that have the word Melbourne will also exclude results that have Melbourne and rural details, or Melbourne and your area of interest.

This might not be what you want.

Finding Australian statistics

Some possibly useful statistics and reports on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health:

Want some overall Australian statistics?

Want some statistics for your local town, suburb, or other area?

Useful heath statistics

Online (streaming) videos

Informit Online video databases

These videos cover content that has been broadcast on Australian TV (primarily on free-to-air channels).

Video databases from other suppliers