Nutrition and Food Science: Find journal articles

Key learning points in this page

In this section, you will learn:

  • why use journal articles for your assignment?
  • different types of journal articles
  • how to search for peer-reviewed journal articles in the Library Catalogue
  • how to search for peer-reviewed journal articles in Library databases:
    • Emcare
    • Scopus
    • Web of Science
Note: if you want to learn how to construct a search strategy, visit Plan your search tab.

Why use journal articles?

Scholarly journal articles contain highly focused and current research information. They provide:

  • peer-reviewed studies
  • up-to-date information 
  • answers to highly focused research questions
  • an easy-to-digest structure: abstract, introduction, methodology, findings, discussion and conclusion
  • concentrated information on topical issues or a particular aspect of a subject
Note: Not all articles in a journal are peer-reviewed, below is a table that contains different types of journal articles. Click on the + symbols to see more information

Search for journal articles: Library Catalogue

The Library Catalogue can be a useful starting point to do a quick search for peer-reviewed articles. However, searching in Library databases will give you more comprehensive information on a particular topic.

Below is a search example of a search strategy that combines different concepts and synonyms.

Note: choose Advanced Search in the Library catalogue.

Example question:  Does an improvement in drinking water quality reduce the incidence of cholera in Haiti and Papua New Guinea?

Note: After results are displayed, select Peer-reviewed Journals filter in the left menu, then select Apply.

Search for journal articles: Key databases

MEDLINE has a different search interface than most databases. It requires you to enter all the synonyms for one concept at a time, and use AND to combine them together at the end. See example below:


  • Untick Map Term to Subject Heading
  • Search all the keywords and synonyms using OR in your first concept.
  • you will see your first concept displayed in Search History above.

image example: the first concept search in Medline 
STEP 2: Repeat this step for other concepts
image example: the second concept search in Medline

image example: the third concept search in Medline

STEP 3: In Search History, tick all your concepts and combine them with AND.
image example: Combine all the concepts with AND

Emcare uses the same Ovid search interface and you can search the same way as you search for MEDLINE.
If you already have search strategy in MEDLINE, you can simply switch the database to Emcare:

STEP 1: Above the search bar, select Change
image example: stwich database to Emcare

STEP 2: in the pop-up window, select Emcare, then select Run Search.
Image example: switch database to Emcare

Search example: Scopus

Searching in Scopus is similar to the Library Catalogue (see above). Select + symbol to add another concept line.

image example: database search in scopus

Search example: Web of Science

Searching in Web of Science is similar to the Library Catalogue. Select + Add row to add another concept line.

image example: database search in Web of Science

[Link to Library webpage databases catagories]

Advanced searching with medical subject headings

What is a Subject heading?

A subject heading is a specific word or phrase used to find and organize books and articles by topic. They are used to categorise the scholarly articles based on their subject relevances. The combination of subject headings and keywords can be used to produce a more rigorous search strategy.

Below is an example of a keyword, a synonym and a relevant Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) in MEDLINE database.

Keyword Synonym  Subject heading

vibrio cholerae

vibrio comma

Vibrio cholerae/
Note: in MEDLINE, a subject heading will have a forward slash behind it.

For more information about subject headings, visit the Systematic review guide: Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)