Nutrition, Dietetics and Food: Finding journal articles

Guidance and resources for students in nutrition and dietetics


Journals are also referred to as serials, periodicals, magazines or newspapers and contain more up-to-date and subject specific information than books. Many journals are available electronically, but photocopies of articles held in print at other campuses may be requested via the document delivery service.

Databases are a quick and efficient means of finding journal articles on a given topic. You can find some of the key databases for nursing and midwifery listed in the box to the right. Monash will not have all the items listed in these databases. You will often need to use the Check for full text link provided in most databases to see if Monash holds a particular journal article, or you can also search for the journal name (not the article title) in the catalogue under Advanced search (set Material type to Journals and search by title).

Examples of some specific journals are shown below
Note - links open in a new window:

Steps for effective database searching

Plan and execute an effective search using the following six steps. The screen shots are from the Ovid Medline database, but the process is applicable to database searching in general.

  1. What is the topic?
    Example: What effect does vitamin E have on cardiovascular diseases in the elderly?
  2. What are the key concepts?
    • vitamin E
    • cardiovascular diseases
    • elderly
  3. Are there other ways to express these key concepts, in order to widen the search?
    some general examples:
    • synonyms (including American terminology) eg heart diseases, cardiac diseases
    • plural / singular eg. woman, women
    • spelling variations eg behaviour, behavior
    • variations of a root word eg strategy, strategic
    • acronyms eg CVD, cardiovascular diseases
  4. For each key concept, join its keywords with OR
    • vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol
    • cardiovascular diseases or CVD
    • elderly
  5. Link each key concept set with AND, to obtain records which contain at least one of the terms from each concept set:
    (vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol or alpha tocopherol) and (cardiac diseases or heart diseases) and (elderly)

While the effect of OR is to widen the search, AND narrows or focuses the search. You may see them referred to as Boolean operators in search guides.

This is how the example search is entered in the Scopus database:

Scopus database search boxes

Evaluate the records retrieved, and modify the search accordingly
From the results list view the records which seem to be the most relevant.

Look for new search terms within the results, especially in the abstract or subject terms, which you can use to refine the initial search.

Further tips for modifying a search

To focus the initial search:

  • reduce the terms linked by OR
  • add another key concept, linked by AND
  • limit by date range

To widen the initial search:

  • increase the terms linked by OR (refer to Step 3)
  • remove a key concept
  • use the truncation symbol (see below).


Typing a truncation symbol after the root of a word will find variations of that word. This can be a powerful way of expanding the search. The truncation symbol is often a star or asterisk (*). For a particular database check the online help to confirm the symbol to use. For example:

  • behavio* will find behavior, behaviour, behavioral, behavioural...
  • child* will find child, childhood, children...

Key Databases

The best databases to use to to find journal articles
NOTE: links below open in a new window:


Food Science

Multidisciplinary (general)

Sociology / current affairs


Database search tips/saved searches

Quick reference guides to assist when searching a number of databases and setting up saved searches. For more information see the individual database help sections.