When you start doing academic research, especially in an area new to you, it may be challenging to match your terminology with that of the experts writing the scholarly journal articles. This can lead to frustration when searching databases because the keywords you use may not match the lingo used by scholars - you may either get irrelevant results, too few results, or even no results.
Our first activity in lab was designed to help you do three things::
Our general topic was the impact of soda consumption on childhood obesity.
Using a peer reviewed journal article we located that was potentially relevant to this topic, you each brainstormed synonyms for one of the following concepts: sugary drinks, obesity, children. In just 10 minutes of searching through the article title, abstract, and references/citations, you each were able to come up with a list of additional terms we might use in searching the library databases on our topic.
We then explored the benefits of boolean searching to be able to "throw more darts at the board" when searching. Here is an example of a boolean search in which, using the brainstormed synonyms, we're able to simultaneously search for many possible keywords at the same time:
("sugar sweetened beverages" OR soda OR "fruit juice" OR "soft drinks") AND (obesity OR "weight gain" OR BMI OR "body mass index") AND (child OR children OR adolescents)
Below I've linked to the article we used in class and the worksheets.
Our second Lab Activity was to explore some of the databases that should prove useful in locating peer reviewed journal articles on your topic: ScienceDirect, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar. We went beyond basic searching to use some of the powerful tools each resource has that can help you (1) find relevant results and (2) retrieve a manageable number of results.
Linked below are the worksheets used in class. These should help refresh your memory when you start your research.
For our third lab exercise, we explored the potential problem of corporate/special interest funding of nutrition research.
We looked at two articles: