SPORTDiscus Database

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Using This Guide

The guide outlines effective searching in SPORTDiscus. SPORTDiscus is the main database for Physical Activity & Exercise. It covers citations to articles and books on:

  • recreation, 
  • exercise physiology, 
  • sports medicine, 
  • coaching, and 
  • physical fitness.

Before we get started...


This guide has two panels. The left panel contains instructions, and the right panel is where you can practice searching and follow the steps on the left.

  • Click the arrows at the bottom of the left panel to move between instruction pages.
  • Use the browser's back button to navigate the right panel.
  • Use buttons in the upper right corner to chat, email, call, or text a librarian.
  • If you're having trouble logging in, email

Special Features

Special Features

  • Use the square button at the top right displaying three horizontal lines to navigate to a specific tutorial page.
  • Use the square button with an arrow next to the close (x), to pop out the left tutorial frame. 
  • Use the "single-page view" link to view in a printing format. 
  • Click on any image to view a larger and clearer image.
  • Clicking on hyperlinked text will reveal definitions or further information. 

Click on the right-hand arrow to continue with the search tutorial.

Accessing the SPORTDiscus Database

Access the SPORTDiscus Database from the library homepage:

    1. Click on Databases and Articles

    2. Click on the letter S

    3. Click on SPORTDiscus 

If you're off-campus, you'll be asked to log on with your ODIN account.

Your screen should look like this:

A picture of the SPORTDiscus Search Homepage.

Click the right-hand arrow button to continue.

Keyword Searching

1 of 2Selecting Keywords

Before beginning your search identify your Keywords by separating each concept in your research question. Then use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) to focus your search. For example, a research question about adaptation through exercise has two primary concepts:

  • adaptation
  • exercise.

A search for this question would be: adaptation AND exercise

search example


Specified Search in SPORTDiscus

Note: If a concept has multiple words, use quotes to find the terms as a phrase (ie "exercise addiction" AND women). 

If you're having difficulty choosing your keywords, watch the PSU Library's video Brainstorming Keywords

When your keywords are ready, click the right-hand arrow to continue.

Keyword Searching

2 of 2Searching

Enter your keywords into the search box. For more search options scroll down the page to view the several limiters available such as date range, full text, language, and more. 

advanced search

Check the Peer-Reviewed box to find the most scholarly resources. 

peer-review box

With initial limiters selected, click on the grey search icon to the bottom left,Search Box or scroll up and click the green search icon to the right of the search box. Search Button

Click the right-hand arrow button to move on to Limiting Your Results. 

Limiting Your Results

Limiting Search Results

Take a look around the search results page. On the right are display options, and on the left are features to refine or narrow a search:

  • Full Text
  • Peer Review 
  • Source Type
  • Subject: Thesaurus Term 
  • Subject
  • Publication 
  • Language 

Try clicking on the "Subject: Thesaurus Term" limiter to see what comes up.

Picture of Subject Limiter

The Subject: Thesaurus Term Limiter option is helpful in narrowing down your results, or for identifying alternate search phrases to modify your search.

Note: What's the difference between Subject: Thesaurus Term limiter and the Subject limiter?Thesaurus terms are created and applied by Librarians, and have specific meanings. Subject is created by authors and may not have specific definitions. (More information at EBSCO). 

Click the right-hand arrow button to move on to Field Searching.

Field Searching

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Field Searching

At times, it may be useful to conduct a Field Search. In a basic search, all fields for all items are searched at the same time but a field search allows you to search a particular field individually.


When should I use a Field Search?

Use a field search is when you have a very particular need. For example:

  • Search for a specific author
  • Find a known article by title
  • Find a very specific subject 
  • You only want articles that mention your keywords in their abstract.

Click the right-hand arrow button to continue.

Field Searching

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In SPORTDiscus...

Use the drop down menu to the right of the search box to search by fields.

Select a field option

Searching the terms Exercise AND Therapy AND Comorbidity in the Title (TI) field

Title Searching

should retrieve the following article: "Exercise and comorbidity: the i3-S strategy for developing comorbidity-related adaptations to exercise therapy"

Article Found

Note: Field searching is not suitable for all searches and will greatly limit results.

Click the right-hand arrow button to move on to Accessing Your Resources.

Accessing Your Resources

Accessing Articles and More

There are three ways to access a resource.

1. If the article is available, the Linked Full Text option is located on left hand side for immediate access. full text

2. Click the "Find it at PSU" green button located below each item in your results list to see where the Library has the article. You'll either see how to get the article online, or in print.

find it

3. If an item is not available through a linked full text or in the library you can request it through Inter-library Loan . Click the "sign in to request this item." 


Sign in, then click "Request from interlibrary loan & Article Delivery." 

ILL Request

For this option you will need to fill out a form and will not have immediate access. You'll be notified via e-mail when the article is ready. 

Click the right-hand arrow button to move on to Further Resources.

Further Resources

This is only the beginning! 

If you have further questions or want more information about smart searching, check out these resources available at the library.

Ask a Librarian
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