Nutrition and Food Science: UniSA Online - Foundations of Nutrition and Health (BIOL 1054) - Assessment 1

Finding academic literature for your report

What you need to do

This guide will help you find academic literature to support your argument in your report.

Remember to always read your course outline or website for more assessment details, including the assignment instructions and marking criteria/feedback sheet.

What is a scholarly source?

For your report, you need to find credible academic sources, such as peer reviewed journal articles. Sometimes peer reviewed articles may be called academic, scholarly or refereed articles.

Watch this short video to understand what makes something scholarly:

If you need help evaluating any reports you find, watch:

Alternatively, look at this guide:

Plan your search

Planning your search will give you the best chance of finding relevant results.

Watch or read the following to learn how to plan a search:

There are a few different ways to plan your search. Select the headings below to read more about different approaches.

You can use a table to start exploring words to use in your search.

Start a column for each of your main concepts. Then for each main concept, think of synonyms or alternative words you could use when searching. This is important as not everyone will express ideas in the same way.

See below for an example table.

chronic disease dietary habits Australia
chronic conditions, chronic illness diet, diets, dietary, dietary guidelines Australian
diabetes, diabetic nutrition, nutritional  
heart disease, cardiovascular disease, CVD eat, eating  
obese, obesity, BMI 30+, body mass index 30+ food, fruit, vegetables, junk food  
....[other chronic diseases]...    

Tip: You need to choose a chronic disease. Column 1 of the table has examples.

You can use a mind map to start exploring words to use in your search.

For each section of your mind map write down a main concept. Then for each main concept, think of synonyms or alternative words you could use when searching. This is important as not everyone will express ideas in the same way.

See below for an example mind map.


Mind map chronic disease [Created using word, UniSA]


Help with mind mapping:

Mapping your question (3:05)
Using mindmaps to plan assignments


Some mind mapping tools:

Text 2 Mind Map

Read the report's aims and description and then follow these steps:

  1. Define any terms you are unsure of. Use an introductory book, dictionary, encyclopedia, handbook or website.
  2. Identify main concepts in your question / assignment. These will form the foundation of your search.
    • Concept 1: chronic disease
    • Concept 2: healthy eating 
    • Concept 3: Australia
  3. Identify any synonyms or alternative keywords for each main concept. This is important as sometimes not everyone refers to a particular concept in the same way.
    • Concept 1: chronic illness, chronic conditions (or you may search for particular diseases such as diabetes)
    • Concept 2: eating, nutrition, diet, dietary, food, fruit, vegetables, junk food
    • Concept 3: Australian
  4. Consider any:
    • word plurals (diet or diets)
    • different word forms (obese or obesity / diabetic or diabetes)
    • different word spellings (colour or color / celiac or coeliac)
    • common acronyms (BMI or Body Mass Index / CVA or cardiovascular disease)


Where to search

More databases are available under Find evidence on this guide.

How to search in Emcare

Select the Multi-Field Search option.

Start by putting each different concept on a new line. Notice your different concepts are connected with AND.


Try broadening your search by adding synonyms or alternative words to each line. Connect these with OR.


If you need to look for a particular age group, gender (male or men / female or women) or geographic location (Australia) consider adding this to your search.


Alternatively explore what limits are available to you to focus your search:

  • Select Limits (under search box) to see some basic limits.
  • Select Edit Limits to see even more limits!

You can apply these search skills when searching in other Library databases, such as Scopus.

How to search in Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be useful for finding scholarly information including articles. Access Google Scholar from the Library's homepage to see full text content.

Start by putting a few different concepts into the search box:

You can add another concept if you need to, which will narrow your search:

If you are having trouble finding relevant articles, change your search concepts.


Watch the videos below for more help: 

Putting it all together

Rate this resource

If you need help, just ask!

Navigate to the Ask the Library webpage. Navigate to the UniSA study help pals webpage. Navigate to the Studiosity webpage. Navigate to the Learning Advisors' webpage.
Contact: Ask the Library Ask: the Study Help PALs Use: Studiosity Talk to: Learning Adviser