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CAP 115: Interdisciplinary Writing

Recommended library resources for CAP 115.

Databases

A database is an online collection of articles that you can search by topic or keyword. These databases are excellent starting points for your research because they have something on every subject.

Search Tips

Your search strategies will depend partly on the research tools you use. Here are some search tips to get you started.

  • Limit the number of search terms that you use. Start with only 2 or 3 search terms.
  • Use search terms that best express your topic. Avoid non-essential terms like "the" and "of."
  • Try multiple searches. Experiment with related terms, including broader or narrower terms.
  • Explore the database's Advanced Search options.
  • On the search results page, look for ways to refine your search.

(Adapted from Rowan University Research Guides)

1. Identify the important nouns or main ideas in your research question. 

  • Research Question: What is the effect of incorrect health information on social media?

2. Generate synonyms for each main term, along with words that are narrower, broader, and related.

  • Incorrect information: deceit, manipulation, lies, false, slander, misinformation
  • Social media: online, web, internet, web 2.0, online social networks
  • Health: wellness, doctor, physical wellbeing, medical

3. Start searching and modify your search terms as necessary. 

  • Pay attention to titles, abstracts, and headings used in the results you find helpful.
  • Some databases provide lists of subject terms, subject headings, or keywords for individual sources. See if you can find those to help add to your own list.

Watch this video from to see an example of how to identify search words (aka keywords).

If you are getting 0 search results, try some of these strategies.

  • Is this the best database for your topic? Be prepared to try several different databases. 
  • Use good search terms. Check spelling and brainstorm synonyms or related terms. You can use OR between synonyms (for example: salary OR pay OR compensation). 
  • Too many search terms. If you have three or more search terms, try removing one to see if your results improve.
  • Too many limiters. Use only limiters that are absolutely necessary.
  • Your topic is too narrow. What is the broader theme of your topic? Break your topic down and search for different parts separately. For example, if you are comparing primary school education in China and Spain, search for articles about each country separately. Then synthesize the information you find. 

Browse current issues of academic journals related to your topic to get a feel for what is currently being researched. This is a great tactic if you have a general idea for your topic, but you aren't sure what direction to take your research.

To find journal issues:

  1. Go to the library catalog and select "Journal Search" at the top of the page.
  2. Search by journal title or a word that is in the journal title's name.
  3. Click on the journal title. and select one of the link options under "Available Online" or "Full Text Availability." Select the year or issue you'd like to browse.

Health-Related Journals

Search Tip: Search for one of the journals below in the library catalog, and select "Available Online" on the item webpage. Select "Available Online" and select one of the databases under "Full Text Availability." Select a year or issue you'd like to browse.
  • Journal of Health and Social Behavior
  • Journal of Nutrition
  • American Journal of Physiology
  • The Journals of Gerontology
  • JAMA
  • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

InterLibrary Loan: If the library does not have access to one of these journals, you can browse articles on the journals website and fill out an InterLibrary Loan Request Form.