These databases can be used to find resources for your topic.
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 referred 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.
Use this worksheet to practice pulling out keywords and thinking of synonyms.
And, Or, and Not (Boolean Search Terms):
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 occurences 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. Google will autocorrect and say "I think you meant this." These databases will search 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.
“Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.”
Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941.
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.
Using this worksheet, we will evaluate some sample sources:
The below citations each have one mistake in them. Identify the errors.
Ebbeling, C. B., Pawlak, D. B., & Ludwig, D. S. (2002). Childhood obesity: Public-health crisis, common sense cure. The lancet, 360(9331), 473-482.
Birch, L. L., & Ventura, A. K. (2009). Preventing Childhood Obesity: What Works?. International Journal of Obesity, 33, S74-S81.
Kraak, V. A., Liverman, C. T., & Koplan, J. P. (Eds.). (2005). Preventing childhood obesity: Health in the balance. National Academies Press.
Ferdman, R. (2016, May 2). “A widely held belief about childhood obesity that simply isn’t true.” The Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/02/we-all-thought-this-dangerous-trend-affecting-our-kids-had-stopped-but-it-didnt/?utm_term=.cccbf763f9cc
Wojcicki, J. M., & Heyman, M. B. (2010). Let's move—childhood obesity prevention from pregnancy and infancy onward. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(16), p. 1457-1459.