APA style is required for course.
You can find a print copy of the APA Style Manual, 6th Edition in the Reference section on the 5th floor or the Learning Resources Division.
For citation assistance accessible online, I recommend OWL at Purdue. They cover all formats and provide examples.
Even if you get your citation from a database, I encourage you to always check it against the print manual or an online guide such as OWL at Purdue.
Searching for Articles
Keywords: Databases require that you search using keywords, rather than questions. You cannot search "What are the prevention strategies for early childhood obesity" the way you might in Google. The databases search for everything you enter, which means they are also searching for "what" "are" and "the," which could clutter your results, or narrow them too much.
Thus, you must select keywords to search: prevention, early childhood, obesity can be pulled out.
Synonyms: Since the databases will search for ONLY what you enter, often time you have to think of synonyms for your keywords. Early childhood obesity could also be refered to as pediatric obesity, or perhaps infant obesity. Sometimes it's easiest to do multiple searches using these different terms. Other times you might want to use Boolean search terms to use a single search.
And, Or, and Not (Boolean Search Terms):
- AND: using AND means that you are searching for both term 1 and term 2, e.g. Early AND childhood AND obesity. The default in databases is to search as if there is AND between all of your keywords, so you do not always need to enter it (you can simply search early childhood obesity).
- OR: using OR allows you to search for two similar terms simulaneaously. As mentioned with synonyms, there could be multiple terms you want to use to search for the same thing. OR allows you to do this, e.g. ("Early childhood" OR pediatric OR infant) AND obesity
- NOT: NOT allows you to specify that you do not want results with a certain keyword. Perhaps you want to look at early childhood obesity, but you do not want to condier diabetes, and you are getting a lot of results that include it. You can add NOT diabetes to your search. Be very careful with NOT, as it will exclude results with ANY mention of diabetes, for example, and article saying diabetes was not considered, which is actually what you are looking for in this example. NOT should always be used judiciously and should only be added when necessary, not included in an initial search.
For a visual representation of Boolean search terms, see these venn diagrams.
Quotation Marks: Quotation marks allow you to search for an exact phrase. "Childhood Obesity" will search for occurances of the exact phrase, not articles that have childhood in one place and obesity in another sentence. This can be very useful, but do not assume that it is always required. Especially when there are synonyms for some of your keywords, or if you aren't entirely sure you search terms will get you the correct results, doing the broader search without quotations might be a safer place to start.
Wildcard: Most databases have a wildcard symbol, which allows you to search for all of the variable endings of a root word. For example, educat* will search for educate, education, educational, and educator. However, be careful, because sometimes unrelated words might share the same root. You might want to search for policy or policies, but polic* will also give you police.
Remember: These databases are not smart like Google. Goole will autocorrect and say "I think you meant this." These databases will searc for exactly what you type, which means sometimes you have to try a few different things. If you have trouble finding sources, contact a librarian for help.
Evaluating Sources is essential. In using information, we must carefully evaluate not only if it is accurate, authoritative and current, but also appropriate for our needs. We must also be aware of and consider the bias that is present in every source. In medicine, one must also consider levels of evidence and the type of study.
Using this worksheet, we will evaluate some sample sources:
- Hardwick, J., & Sidnell, A. (2014). Infant nutrition - diet between 6 and 24 months, implications for paediatric growth, overweight and obesity. Nutrition Bulletin, 39(4), 354-363. doi:10.1111/nbu.12118
- Walsh, A. D., Lioret, S., Cameron, A. J., Hesketh, K. D., McNaughton, S. A., Crawford, D., & Campbell, K. J. (2014). The effect of an early childhood obesity intervention on father’s obesity risk behaviors: the Melbourne InFANT Program. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, 18. http://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-11-18
- Hurt, L., Pinto, C. D., Watson, J., Grant, M., & Gielner, J. (2014). Diagnosis and screening for obesity-related conditions among children and teens receiving medicaid - Maryland, 2005-2010. MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 63(14), 305-308.
- Parsons, E., Patel, K., Tran, B., & Littman, A. (2013). Maternal Pre-Gravid Obesity and Early Childhood Respiratory Hospitalization: A Population-Based Case-Control Study. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 17(6), 1095-1102. doi:10.1007/s10995-012-1092-x