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Physical Therapist Assistant Program Guide

General purpose guide with resources and research tips pertaining to physical therapist assistant program and courses

Ways to Find Relevant Journal Articles at Western

decorative black and white image of journal articlesSearch for a topic using a health science database

The vast majority of Western's resources for health sciences can be found by searching for a topic in one of our library databases. Databases are electronic collections of published information that are collected and organized.

For a list of recommended databases, take a look at the boxes below. 

Search for a specific publication or article in a database

Databases also allow you to search for or within specific publications. Look for the "Publications" button on the main page or use the Advanced Search.

Request a specific article through interlibrary loan

Article requests are able to be requested and delivered electronically via email using our interlibrary loan service, so please contact  or submit your request via the ask a librarian form on our website. Just because we don't own it doesn't mean we can't get it for you!

Not sure the best route to go? Want some help locating what you need? Please ask a librarian

Best Bet Databases for PTA (start with these!)

You can find a wide variety of information and resources using library databases. These resources allow you to search for a topic, browse a specific publication, or find articles relevant for your research. Most databases (including the ones below) provide tools such as basic and advanced search boxes, source citations, subject suggestions, and search filters.

Don't see what you're looking for? Try browsing our full list of databases, linked below.

Openly Available Databases for Physical Therapy

Just getting started with searching?

Video overview of database searching

A-Z Databases

Databases are collections of resources that are organized for strategic searching. Browse the full list of library databases and other recommended resources. You can use the filters to look for databases for a specific subject or choose one of the Popular databases if you're not sure where to begin.

General search tips

  • Break down your topic into search terms (for best results, use nouns).

  • The Advanced Search gives you multiple search boxes. This can help you narrow your results and also break down your topic into searchable components.

    • Within the advanced search, the Document Type or Publication Type category is a good place to specify what you are looking for.

    • Select the Full Text checkbox to be sure you get whole articles, not just short summaries and citations.

  • The Publication search can help you target a few specific laboratory medicine journals to search within. Search for "laboratory" or "clinical lab" in the description/summary box to find relevant journals.

  • Pay attention to the Subject terms you find. Jot down terms relevant to your research, they may lead to better articles.

  • If you're not sure about your search terms, use the Thesaurus to search for subject terms, browse for terms, or add terms to your search. Remember to jot them down, you may need them!

Tips for navigating results

  • The Abstract is a concise summary of the article and can give you a sense of whether or not the article will be helpful. 

  • Struggling to identify a primary article (AKA original research)? Look for specific sections such methodology, data set, results, and analysis.

  • The Cite / Citation tool is very handy for help with citing your sources. Be sure to document your citations and save your articles as you research so you don't have to retrace your steps later.

For more information on conducting research with library databases

Tutorials and tip sheets on using specific library databases

Feeling lost, confused, or unsure where to start?

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