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FCS 371 Research Methods in HHD   Tags: course_guide, health and human development  

Research Methods in HHD
Last Updated: Sep 11, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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HOW DO I FIND ..........

How do I find a REVIEW JOURNAL in my field?   Go into the JOURNALS BY TITLE database and do a "TITLE CONTAINS ALL WORDS" search for REVIEW and EXERCISE (or NUTRITION, or PUBLIC HEALTH or whatever your field is). 

How do I find 10 journals in my field?  Search the JOURNAL CITATION REPORTS database in the middle column of this guide; search by SUBJECT CATEGORY and select HEALTH.  Choose 10 from the list.  Open each of your 10 journal titles by clicking on it and you'll see IMPACT FACTORS for each title. (note: You can also find journals in your field using the Journals By Title database, linked above, but this database won't give you impact factors if that's what you're also seeking.)

Do journal IMPACT FACTORS change year to year?  Sometimes, and if so, the impact factor change might be influenced by several different factors:  if a journal publishes more review articles in a given year, its impact might go up because review articles are typically cited more than other types of articles (studies); or a journal's impact factor might change because of publishing trends in the field, etc.

How do I find a QUANTITATIVE STUDY on my topic?  Go into the PSYCINFO database, listed in the middle column of this guide, and on the search screen, scroll down to the METHODOLOGY drop-down menu and check QUANTITATIVE to add that to your search.  Then limit also to JOURNAL ARTICLES and search your topic (for example, nutrition counseling  OR knee injuries, or any topic of interest to you in your field).  OR search your research topic in any database and include the term STUDY in your search.  Once you locate an article of interest, look for the components of a quanitative study in that article, including Methods/Methodology, Population sample studied, Findings/Results, statistics gathered in the study represented in charts, graphs, tables, etc.

PEER REVIEW-- note that many of the library databases allow you to limit to PEER REVIEWED articles right from the search screen; you can also often narrow to PEER REVIEWED from your results list -- look for this option in either the right or left column of your results page, depending on which database you're in.

How do I find a QUALITATIVE STUDY on my topic?  Go into the PSYCINFO database, listed in the middle column of this guide, and on the search screen, click on BROWSE METHODOLOGY, check QUALITATIVE and add that to your search.  Then limit also to JOURNAL ARTICLES and search your topic.  For example, nutrition counseling  OR knee injuries or any topic of interest to you in your field. OR use any database, and include the term QUALITATIVE in one of your search boxes along with your topic:  for example, nutrition and athletes and qualitative.

How do I find 2 research articles done by MSU researchers?  Go into the WEB OF SCIENCE database, type in your topic (such as exercise science); in the second search box, type in MONTANA STATE and then change the drop down menu to ADDRESS.  Click Search and pick any two that you like.

How do I find 5 lead authors/researchers in my field? Go into the WEB OF SCIENCE CORE COLLECTION database (a subset of the Web of Science database), and type in your discipline or major (exercise science, nutrition, community health, etc.).  From the results page, look at the BLUE BOX in the left column.  Click on the AUTHORS link and look at the top five authors listed.  The number of articles that each of those authors has cited in the Web of Science Core Collection database will appear after their name in parentheses.


    Magazines vs. Journals: What's the difference?

    Journal cover   Scholarly Journals

    • Authors are experts/authorities in their fields.
    • Authors cite their sources in endnotes, footnotes, or bibliographies.
    • Individual issues have little or no advertising.
    • Articles must go through a peer-review process (experts in the discipline evaluate each author's work before any articles are published).
    • Articles are usually reports on scholarly research.
    • Illustrations usually take the form of charts and graphs.
    • Articles use jargon of the discipline.
    • Articles are typically five or more pages in length.

    Time Magazine   Popular Magazines

    • Authors are magazine staff members/regular columnists or free lance writers.
    • Authors often mention sources, but rarely formally cite them in bibliographies.
    • Individual issues contain numerous advertisements.
    • There is no peer review process.
    • Articles are meant to inform and entertain (thus they are also thought of as consumer publications because they are published for a wide audience).
    • Illustrations are numerous and colorful.
    • Language is geared to the general adult audience (no specialized knowledge of jargon needed).
    • Articles are typically fairly short (one or two columns to one or a few pages).

    Finding Research Articles

    Where to start?  You might start your research with an interdisciplinary database, such as WEB OF SCIENCE; or start with a discipline-specific database such as PSYCINFO.  If you're doing an extenstive literature review, you will likely need to search in more than one database because each database contains unique content.  Read each database description, below, to decide if your topic overlaps with the coverage of that database. 

    • Web of Science (includes Biological Abs, Medline and Web of Science Core Collection)
      This combined database searches the Web of Science Core Collection databases (Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index), Medline, BIOSIS, and Zoological Record.
    • Agricola
      Agricola is a bibliographic index for agriculture and allied disciplines including plant and animal sciences, forestry, entomology, soil and water resources, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, agricultural products, alternative farming practices, and food and nutrition.
    • Business Source Premier
      Business Source Premier covers business, management, finance, accounting, international business, and economics topics with full-text articles, images, and bibliographic citations. Use for researching business and industry related topics (agri-business, food industry, etc.).
    • CAB Direct International Coverage of Food, Agriculture & Nutrition
      International coverage of agronomy, biotechnology, crop protection, dairy science, economics, environmental degradation and remediation, forestry, genetics, herbicides, irrigation, leisure, recreation and tourism, microbiology, nutrition, parasitology, rural development, veterinary medicine, and much more.
    • CINAHL
      Use for finding research on nutrition and health related topics (database covers nursing, allied health, biomedicine, and consumer health).
    • EconLit
      EconLit indexes the worldwide literature on economics.
    • ERIC (Educational Information Resources Center)
      Research education programs and methods here; also freely available at
    • Medline on Web of Science (links to MSU Journal holdings)
      Use for nutrition & health related research: covers medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. Original MEDLINE interface available at
    • PsycInfo
      International literature in psychology and related behavioral and social sciences, including psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, education, pharmacology, and linguistics.
    • PubMed
      The original Medline database interface, PubMED does not provide links to MSU journal holdings. Search the JournaList database to determine if the library owns a journal from which you need an article. See Medline description above for coverage.
    • Sociological Abstracts
      Indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
    • SportDiscus
      Indexes the literature in recreation, exercise physiology, sports medicine, coaching, physical fitness, the psychology, history, and sociology of sport, training, and conditioning.
    • Other Agriculture, Crop and Food related databases
      Explore other databases for researching agriculture, crop, food and nutrition-related issues.
    • Other Business databases
      See other business/finance-related databases to help you with your research.
    • Other Nutrition and Health databases
      See other health related databases to help you with your research.
    • Journal Citation Reports
      Use JCR to determine journal impact factors and rankings in a research area.


    Try the CatSearch discovery tool for searching your topic across many resources at once, including the Library Catalog (Books & Media Search) for books, plus much of the content of many of our subscription databases such as those listed above (contain citations to journal articles, etc.).  If you don't get relevant results, try narrowing by topic, date, etc.; if you still don't get relevant results, try a discipline specific database on your topic from above.



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      What is a Literature Review?

      See this helpful resource on Literature Reviews from UNC-Chapel Hill:


        AMA Citation Style

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