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UniSA Online - BIOL 1054 - Foundations of Nutrition and Health - Assessment 1

1. What you need to do

This guide will help you find scientific literature in peer reviewed journals 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.

2. 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:

  • Often you will be asked to use scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed sources in your assignment.
  • Scholarly sources (also called academic sources) can include journal articles, books, conference papers, and theses.
  • Sources such as Wikipedia, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, blogs, social media and personal websites are called popular sources.
  • A scholarly source:
    • is written by researchers within a subject area,
    • reports on research findings,
    • contains comprehensive in-text citations and a reference list or bibliography,
    • uses specialised terminology and a formal writing style, and
    • is often peer-reviewed or refereed.
  • A peer-reviewed or refereed journal article is assessed by experts within the field before it is published.
  • Peer-reviewed journal articles should include:
    • author details including affiliations with organisations,
    • an abstract which summarises the article,
    • evidence of research findings, and
    • in-text citations and a reference list.
  • When searching in the Library Collection or databases, you can filter for scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed resources.
  • Books can also be scholarly. A scholarly book:
    • is written by an expert,
    • is published by a reputable publisher,
    • has a table of contents,
    • provides in depth subject information,
    • includes an index of terms, and
    • has in-text citations and a reference list.

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

Alternatively, look at this guide:

3. 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.

First you need to identify the key concepts in your question, below is an example question:

Dairy based foods and drinks should be avoided as they are a major contributor to the development of health issues such as cardiovascular disease.

Then 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 all authors will use the same words to describe the key concepts in their articles.

See below for an example table.

dairy based food/drinks health issues avoidance
dairy, dairy product, dairy derived product cardiovascular disease, CVD avoiding
milk, milk product, milk derived product heart disease, heart attack diet, dietary pattern
yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, custard cerebrovascular disease, stroke nutrition, nutritional
....[other dairy products]... peripheral arterial disease consumption, intake, eat, eating
  hypertension, blood pressure  

Tip: You need to look at specific health issues. The second column has some examples.

Read the assignment instructions and task 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: dairy based food and drinks
    • Concept 2: health issues, cardiovascular disease
    • Concept 3: avoidance
  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: dairy based food and drinks, dairy, milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, custard
    • Concept 2: health issues, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, heart attack (or you may search for other health issues)
    • Concept 3: Avoidance, avoiding, diet, intake, consumption
  4. Consider any:
    • word plurals (diet or diets)
    • different word forms (avoidance or avoiding or avoid)
    • different word spellings (celiac or coeliac)
    • common acronyms (BMI or Body Mass Index / CVD or cardiovascular disease)

4. Where to search

The Library website

The Library Collection is a useful place to start looking for scientific evidence. The following video will step you through how to search:


Emcare is a key databases for the health sciences and contains scholarly and peer reviewed literature in nursing and allied health.

Emcare icon Emcare

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a great tool for finding scholarly material from a wide range of subject areas. Make sure you access through the Library website so that you won't be asked to pay for articles.

Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is a reputable government website that you can search for dietary information.

Australian Guide to healthy eating logo Australian Guide to Healthy Eating


Note: More databases are available the Find evidence page of this guide. Watch the Choosing where to search video to learn where to search for resources.

5. 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.

6. How to switch your search to MEDLINE

Because Emcare and MEDLINE are accessed through the same platform, you can easily switch between databases to find different results

Above the search box, look for 1 Resource selected, and choose Change.

Tick the box next to Ovid MEDLINE(R) ALL, and then select Run search.

You can now see a different set of search results from the MEDLINE database.

7. 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: 

8. Putting it all together

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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