Explore our Specialty Databases: ScienceDirect

Researching scientific and medical topics can sometimes be daunting.

Sometimes you want to go to a big lots-of-topics-in-one database like ProQuest Central or search everything available in the Durham Tech digital and physical collection all at once using the Search Library option, but other times you want to go directly to a database that caters to the subject at hand.

Science Direct database logo

ScienceDirect is one of our specialty databases containing primarily ebooks and peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles about scientific and medical topics, including open-access resources.

You can access it directly by going to the Articles, Journals, and Databases box on the Library’s homepage and using the link provided. Off-campus users will then login using their Durham Tech username and password (the same as Sakai and Self-Service). 

Read on to learn how ScienceDirect and make your scientific and medical research easier! 

ScienceDirect works like most databases– use your selected keywords to search for articles and ebook chapters in the search bar and limit your results by year, publication title, subject area, and even if the journal or resource is open access.

When scouring peer-reviewed journals for relevant, accurate, recent scientific information, the many complicated terms and topics in these fields can result in an intimidating landscape of charts and complicated vocabulary. To help with this challenge, you can use one of ScienceDirect’s most exciting features: the vocabulary-building feature called Topic Pages

Topic Pages are filled with useful hyperlinks, defined vocabulary terms, and even contextual social information that can transform a reader’s understanding of a topic. You can access the list of Topic Pages by scrolling down to the bottom of the ScienceDirect homepage and selecting “Browse by Topic.”

ScienceDirect bottom screen navigation links, including Browse by Topic beneath Explore Science Direct

You can then see the wide variety of Topic Pages available. 

Check out this Topic Page for “Randomized Clinical Trial.”

ScienceDirect Topic Page for Randomized Control Trial

The term is defined from a source within the database and that source is a clickable link below the definition. To the right, users can see terms that ScienceDirect associates with the chosen topic; this one has a Medicine and Dentistry perspective.

Topic Pages are automatically generated from the many peer-reviewed/scholarly journal articles, academic book chapters, and open-access articles that populate ScienceDirect. You can also download Topic Pages as PDFs. 

While these topic pages may be a helpful starting point for researching a specific topic, each page is not human-curated, so you’ll need to assess it yourself for relevance to your own research topic just like with all research.

When you find a paper that’s great for your research, ScienceDirect gives you some extras to help you out–check out and click on links to navigate the structure of the paper (skipping to different sections).

The right-hand side recommends related articles and neat contextual information, such as how many times the paper has been cited or tweeted about so you can see its impact. 

ScienceDirect page for "Foods and Beverages Available at SNAP-Authorized Drugstores in Sections of North Carolina"

Clicking on “View PDF” opens the document within the browser while retaining a side window for users to click linked material on while reading the paper. All these tools can also help provide a deeper understanding of the context of scholarly research, as well as a window into how scholarly research is interconnected. 

If you ever need a refresher on all these details, ScienceDirect has a helpful video that emphasizes what you should know about using it. 

Launch into your next research project via ScienceDirect and try out all these great analytical tools!

As always, you can email (library@durhamtech.edu) or chat with a librarian for assistance if you run into any problems accessing or using our resources. 

We are always happy to help. 😊