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Research skills tutorial

Step 4 Example - Find appropriate information

Your assignment topic is "Chocolate can make you happy. Discuss."

You will need to find your selected sources of information that discuss the effect of chocolate on humans.

The Library Catalogue

To find the dictionary, go to the library catalogue and search for food dictionary

There are 13 dictionaries, eight of which are available electronically (eBooks).

Now search for psychology dictionary

There are 18 results, and six of these are eBooks.

Right down the call number of the physical books and find them on the library shelves. The items are shelved alphabetically by call number, and grouped by subject.

As you write down the definition of your keywords, find the definition of your alternate keywords too.

Write down the reference of each source of information as you find it; it will save time later.

Finding Journal Articles in DISCOVER

On the library website, in the DISCOVER search, select the Journal articles tab, type your keywords and select Search

To refine your search select:

  • Peer Reviewed Journals,
  • Articles (under Resource Type),
  • Date range of five years.

If you still have too many results, add a subject (left side filters).

Finding Journal Articles in Databases

If you go to Databases select either:

  • The appropriate subject area from the list
  • The particular database you want to search

ProQuest Central is a multidisciplinary, full-text and citation database.  It includes full-text articles, and finds the citation of journal articles available in other databases.

There are many other databases that could be relevant, such as those listed under the subjects of health or psychology.  Google Scholar is a great tool to use, as it finds journals articles within many of the UniSC databases.

Search ProQuest Central:

Abstract: chocolate OR cocoa OR cacao


Abstract: happy OR happiness OR enjoy* or satisfaction

And select Scholarly Journals from the Source Type

There are 43 results, and five of them look really good.  In some articles, you notice they refer to mood rather than happiness or joy.

Modifying your search strategy

At any time you can modify the search.  Try either:

  • adding OR Mood
  • replacing all the 'happy' alternate keywords with mood

If you replace all of the keywords with mood, you find 17 results, and 12 look relevant.

You may notice some interesting Suggested Subjects, and you can click on any of those links to find more articles with the same combination of words.


Now read the abstract of each article, and if they are relevant, take note of the reference for your bibliography.  This will save time later, so you don't have to find these articles again.


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