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Literature Search at Roskilde University Library: The Library's Databases

In this guide you get an introduction to how and where you can search for literature

About databases

In addition to, it can be a good idea to search for information in other databases. Especially because the search engine in retrieves some but not all results from the library databases. Furthermore, you can usually make a more targeted and precise search if you search in a specific database. A few bits of general knowledge about databases can be helpful in your search:

  • A database typically contains journal articles, reports, conference proceedings, periodicals, magazines newspapers etc. 
  • Certain databases do contain books, but if you are specifically looking for books, we recommend that you use for the best results.
  • A database can be multidisciplinary or specialized within a research field. 
  • Often a database will give you access to the full text of the article, but sometimes you can only view abstracts or citations. 
  • Although databases look dissimilar, many of them function in roughly the same manner. Some databases have specific functions that enable for instance a visual overview of results or citation searches. You can always read more about the functionalities in the help section of the specific database. 
  • You can use the same search techniques e.g. Boolean operators, truncation or phrase searching in the different databases, so if you have a good search string you can copy and test it in different databases. 
  • When you use your RUC single sign-on you can access the databases from anywhere. 

TIP: You can only access the databases with your WAYF/single sign-on, so access them via

Universal databases

ProQuest Central is a large multidisciplinary database that draws results from more than 47 specialized databases. When using ProQuest you can choose to search in all or selected databases, depending on your subject. ProQuest covers literature within the fields of: Business, Science and Technology, Health and Medical, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities and News.
EBSCOhost similarly to ProQuest Central is a large multidisciplinary database, where you can search the entire database or selected specialized databases. 
SCOPUS  is also a large multidisciplinary database containing fulltexts citations and abstracts from peer-reviewed journals, books, periodicals, patents and conference proceedings. Particular to Scopus is their powerful visual analysis tools, which can give a good overview of search results. To access the tool click on ‘analyze results’ once you have made a search.

Web of Science is especially used within the natural sciences but also very useful for other disciplines. In Web of Science you can also search for research data via the Data Citation Index.

FIND DATABASES HERE (select universal databases in the dropdown menu)

In ProQuest and EBSCOhost you can search all of their sub-databases at once. Particularly in the beginning of your literature search these broad searches can be an advantage and help you spot what specialized databases are relevant for you. However, the broad scoped searches might also generate a large number of results and irrelevant hits. Searching in a specialized database might also give you more targeted fields to search and controlled subject words.
Literature searches are about finding the Goldie Lock zone with a suitable and manageable amount of results including all the relevant literature in a structured, transparent and reproducible way. Literature searching is an iterative process and is best carried out through practically testing what generates the best results in the given project context, so do not be afraid to test different search strategies.

Sage Research Methods

If you are looking for a broad palette of online resources on research methods, we recommend that you have a look at the site Sage Research Methods. Here you can find books, articles, videos and guides that describe methods and cover qualitative methods, quantitative methods, philosophy of science, data ethics and much more.


Radio / TV / Newspapers in Danish

The database Infomedia lets you search more than 75 million articles in Danish Newspapers, dating back to ca. 1990. Infomedia covers all national newspapers, regionale as well as local newspapers, journals and magazines, webmedia and radio and TV-broadcasts. 

Mediestream is a site that contains more than a million Danish broadcasts (Radio, TV and cinema commercials) as well as 35 million digitized newspaper pages.

Specialized Databases

Some research fields have specific databases that gather resources in the field. An advantage to searching in a specialized database can be that you automatically exclude irrelevant resources from outside of your field. On the other hand, specialized databases should be used with caution particularly within interdisciplinary research. You can find lists of the subject specific resources via the library’s pages on here. Additionally in the database ProQuest and EBSCO (See screenshot below from EBSCohost).

FIND DATABASES HERE (Choose you subject field in the drop down menu)


An encyclopedia is somewhat like an expanded dictionary. Like a dictionary, it is structured in short alphabetical sections, but unlike a dictionary, which will only provide you with a meaning of a concept or a word, an encyclopedia provides you with a thorough referenced introduction to a concept and usually further readings.
Many encyclopedias are research based (like the ones listed below) and in contrast to an encyclopedia like Wikipedia research based encyclopedias are assuredly written by excellent researchers in their field. This means that you can use them for quick and reliable fact checks and refer to them in your work. Research based encyclopedias are therefore an excellent study tool because they give you an overview in just a few pages.

FIND ENCYCLOPEDIAS HERE (select handbooks in the drop down)

Selected encyclopedias:

  • International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral sciences
  • Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
  • International Encyclopedia of Human Geography
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy
  • Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization
  • Encyclopedia of Mathematics