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Human Nutritional Sciences: HNSC 4160

Research and study sources for the topics in Human Nutritional Sciences.

Key Databases:

Some References Useful As You Frame Your Research Project...

How to Scoop Right Amount of Potential Sources - Constructing Your Search Strategy

The following are selected features of SCOPUS and PUBMED that  I demonstrated during the library sessions:

1) Constructing a search strategy using your keywords is the first step in filtering, then scooping the right amount of potential sources. Let's review boolean logic using AND, OR, and NOT operators to construct your search strategies.   Take a piece of paper and jot down your potential keywords and formulate your search strategies.  How AND, OR, and NOT operators function are the same regardless of databases.  Please note, however, that each database has its searching protocol.  Refer to the database's search help/instruction for the details.  For example, many databases including UML One Stop Search and Google place an "AND" operator between each keyword by default.  Other databases may ask you to type "AND" operator or select it as an option.

Three Vann diagrams explaining how AND, OR, and NOT operators work.



2) Set up your own account and keep track of your search history.

Both PubMed and Scopus have a feature to set up your personal account.  By setting up your account, you can save your preferred search results for future reference.  This feature makes it easier to keep track of different searches you conducted.  For PubMed, you will see "Sign in to NCBI" link on the right-hand top corner of the PubMed homepage, and in Scopus, "Register | Login" links at its right-hand top corner of the main Scopus search page.  These are not associated with your Library Account or UMNet ID, and you have to set them up separately.  See how to save searches or selected items with PubMed in the box below.


3) Many Databases offer some criteria or options to further limit your search results.


  • PubMed offers a list of criteria to limit your search from the filters sidebar:


  • Scopus provides the limit options at the point of constructing your search:




And again when you browse your search results:


Image of side column menu:  Year, Author Name, Subject Area, Document Type, Source Title, Keyword, Affiliation, Country, Source Type, and Language. 


Alternatively, using PubMed Advanced Search Builder, you can construct your search strategies using MeSH terms or other options.


How to Save Searches or Selected Items in PubMed

How to save your selections:

  1. Register if you haven't set up your PubMed account.
  2. Go to My NCBI link on the top right-hand side.
  3. Click "Customize this page" and select "Recent Activity," "Saved Searches," and "Collections."  (You can select other options, but these would work for your project.)
  4. From Recent Activity box, select the results that you want to go back to.  If you haven't done a search yet, go back to the main PubMed page and formulate a search.
  5. If the results look good, browse the lists carefully by referring to abstracts.  (You may be selecting the items for your background information about your topic at the beginning of your project or you may be looking for more specific, relevant information to focus on your research to frame/reframe your question.)
  6. Select the items by clicking the box.
  7. When you finished your selections, go up to "Sent To," select "Collections," and "Add to Collections."



8. If you have previously saved items, the system will ask you to choose whether to make a new collection or append to the previous collection.  If you are selecting a new collection, name it.












9. Check your saved collections in the Collections box under my NCBI page.


How to Read and Gather Information from Research Articles

Source: Kishwaukee College Library,

More readings on the topic:

  1. Subramanyam, R. (2013). Art of reading a journal article: Methodically and effectively. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology : JOMFP17(1), 65–70.
  2. How to read and get the most out of a journal article  (JEPS Bulletin, February 28, 2013).
    1. Read the title, abstract, and introduction with care.
    2. What is (are) the objective(s) of the research
    3. What research method is being used?
    4. What are the results and the discussion?
    5. What is the conclusion?

Gather the information based on your research question.

You will be most likely negotiating with what you find in the literature and continue asking, "Should I reframe the question so that I can present my findings more effectively?" (What is my story to present?)


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Ryan Schultz
222E Machray Hall
(204) 914-0492