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FSN 265: Dietary Applications of Nutrition Principles: Database Search Tips

Searching the Databases

Databases are curated collections of scholarly work. Different databases will have materials on different subjects so it's important to search the right ones. Below you'll find a list of databases that will be helpful for this class. You'll also find tips for searching them effectively. 

If you're not finding what you're looking for, contact Lindsay Decker for help. 

Top Tips

  • Consult "Help" screens or database search guides
  • Use database tags--"subject" or "thesaurus"--for search terms
  • Keep track of your searches:
    • Save search strategies within the database
    • Make a search log--list databases & search terms used
  • Choose "Advanced" search options & use database "power tools"
  • Organize your results to avoid duplicates
    • Use Refworks
    • Use other bibliographic management software
    • Organize a list or folder

Alternative Search Terms

  • Try synonyms or related terms: niacin as well as vitamin B3
  • Try alternative spelling: paediatric as well as pediatric
  • Truncate (use a wildcard) to get variations on a word: obes* to find obese, obesity, obesogenic...


Get more appropriate results by using "limit" or "refine" options.

  • English language
  • Human research subjects
  • Age group(s)
  • Publication Year range as specified by your instructor
  • Document Type articles
  • Peer Reviewed journals
  • etc.

Recommended Databases

Here is a list of databases relevant to FSN 265. For all databases related to Food Science & Nutrition, go to the subject guide for the department. See the Search Tips box for help navigating these databases.

ANDs and ORs

Searching in databases means organizing your keywords with Boolean operators: AND and OR.

You can type these operators into your search or look for dropdown arrows on the search page that allow you to specifically select AND or OR.

Use AND for more specific results
niacin AND cholestrol

Your results will include BOTH terms.

  AND narrows a search, finding only results containing both terms.


Use OR to broaden a search with related terms
niacin OR vitamin B3

Your results will include EITHER term.

  OR expands a search, finding       results containing either or both terms.


Mix and match: (dairy OR milk OR cheese) AND nutri*

This search will turn up results with dairy, milk or cheese as long as the result also uses a word that starts with nutri.

Use quotation marks to keep a phrase together: "vitamin B3" will ensure your results don't just have the word vitamin in there without the B3.

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.


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Lindsay Decker
Reference Services
Fogler Library
University of Maine
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