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FSN 603: Nutrient Changes in the Food System: Database Search Tips
Break your topic down into key words and phrases (no more than three words long)
Look for words that relate to your topic: effected populations and settings or variations. If you're not familiar with your topic, try a simple Google Search before diving into the databases. Write down keywords as you search that you can use to find more reputable sources in the databases.
Write out synonyms or related terms: vitamin c as well as ascorbic acid
Try alternative spelling: sulphur as well as sulfur
Truncate (use a wildcard) to get variations on a word: nutri* to find nutrition, nutritional, nutrient...
ANDs and ORs
Searching in databases means organizing your keywords with Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT
Use AND for more specific results nutrition AND growth
Your results will include BOTH terms.
Use OR to broaden a search with related terms nutrition OR growth
Your results will include EITHER term.
Mix and match: (dairy OR milk OR cheese) AND nutri*
Image credit: "Logic Gates.svg" by HereToHelp, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, is available via Wikimedia Commons. Nancy R. Curtis cropped images from original graphic, and modified colors to accommodate color vision disabilities.
It's easy to find your self doing the same search over and over again if you aren't keeping track of your searches. You'll find some templates for keeping a record of your keywords and database searches here: