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Laboratory Medicine: MEDI 1009 - Professional Issues in Laboratory Medicine - Assignment 2

Assignment 2 - Databases and Journals

In this assignment, you will be searching for information on the same topic as for assignment 1, with emphasis on one aspect of the topic.  You will build on the basic information you gathered in assignment 1 with more recent and advanced materials from journals, using databases to conduct your search.

This assignment has 2 parts:​

  • Part A requires you to develop and implement a Search Strategy, as well as answer 3 questions about peer reviewed journals.

  • Part B is a written essay on the selected aspect of your topic, using multiple journal articles as evidence.

Please refer the learnonline course site for full assessment instructions, including the list of topics and aspects.

Part A: Planning your Search

Start by identifying the concepts (main ideas) from your assignment topic prior to searching. 

Then consider alternative words (synonyms) for these concepts which, together with the concept term, become your searchable keywords. 

1. Break down your topic:

Example: The pathogenesis of celiac disease.


  • celiac disease
  • pathogenesis


  • coeliac disease, celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue, gluten enteropathy, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, gluten-induced enteropathy.
  • pathogeny, pathological process, focalisation 

2. Now use AND or OR to combine your keywords

celiac disease OR coeliac disease OR celiac sprue OR non-tropical sprue OR gluten enteropathy OR gluten-sensitive enteropathy OR gluten-induced enteropathy
pathogenesis OR pathogeny OR pathological process OR focalisation

3. Add truncation, wildcards and phrase symbols to your search.

This will help you save time and get relevant results.  Here is how the search might look in a Scopus database search:

Search Tip: Is your search giving you irrelevant results?

Be careful when choosing your terms! When searching for keywords in Databases, the search will find all references to the keyword - e.g. 'Drug' - prescription medication or 'Drug - illicit substance.

Find Journal Articles for your Assignment

Journals are the primary medium for scholarly communication and account for a large percentage of university research output. They:

  • provide highly focused information
  • can be the source for the latest material on a topic
  • can sometimes be one of the few (or only) sources of scholarly information on a topic

Journals contain collections of articles and are generally published on a regular basis.

Journal articles are often found in Databases. Databases are search tools for finding articles, papers, reports, book chapters and more. You can search by topic, author, or in a specific publication. Scholarly references are best found in databases.

Database limits and filters

Journal articles are often found in databases.

Database limits and filters may be applied to reduce your search results if you have too many.  Some useful limits include 'English Language' or Date of Publication. Note the following about using limits:

  • Using a limit only applies to the database you are currently searching. If you have selected more than one, only the results from the filtered database will display.

  • If the database is bibliographic (abstract) only – it won’t find any full-text. Using a full text limiter will therefore yield 0 results.

Please Note: If you limit your results, there is always the potential that you could miss some important/useful research. 

Evaluate your References

Once you have identified potential articles, you need to start evaluating them to identify which articles are the most relevant and appropriate.

The following video provides information on how to evaluate your resources.

Part B: Your Written Assignment

In your Written Assignment, you must discuss the designated aspect of your allocated disease topic using information obtained in Part A.  Construct this in the style of a journal review article with an:

  • Introduction (brief description of the topic) 
  • Major aspects of the topic (organised under subheadings)
  • Conclusion (to bring the discussion together)

You have a word limit of 750.  You may go as high as 850 and must include your final word count.


  • Dot points may be used.
  • Diagrams are allowed but they must be referenced correctly.  
  • Search strategy, answers to questions and diagrams/figure legends are not included in the word count.


Need help referencing? Follow the roadmap!

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