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HSC 2100 - Personal and Community Health - Professor Ana Gonzalez: Finding Journals

Finding sources for background data and prevention methods for health issues

Video Tutorial

Research Minutes: How to Identify Scholarly Journal Articles (90 sec.)
Research Minutes is brought to you by Cornell University Library.

What is a database?

A library database is an indexed collection of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, books, video files, image files, reviews, abstracts, and other information that has been checked for accuracy and reliability by publishers, then licensed for distribution in electronic format.

Specialized databases for researching health topics

General Databases

Many health subjects may have a different angle to them. Should unhealthy foods be sold by school vending machines (Education databases)? What behaviors determine health (Psychology)? Should children's television offer ads for unhealthy foods (Business)?

Choosing a General database will offer you articles from other fields...

Library Databases vs. the Internet

Library Databases  

The Internet

Purchased by the library for students and faculty to use free of charge.

Free to everyone though some journal and newspaper websites may charge for some content.

Journal databases ensure you are getting only credible sources that written by scholars and experts in the field. Content is evaluated by the author’s peers or by editors and publishers for authority and accuracy and is copyrighted.  

Anyone can publish anything to the Internet whenever they want. Quality and objectivity may  be diffiuclt to determine.

Information is stable.

 Websites may vanish.

Organized and indexed by information specialists so students have the flexibility to find the exact type of information they need.

Random information that may be not be objective or reliable or verifiable.

Offers varieties of searching options:

·         Search by specific subject headings and descriptors.

·         Search by keywords in a specific field such as author and title.

·         Limit search results by type of information.

Only searches by matching the characters and keywords.  It can be difficult or impossible to narrow down the results by information type.

All results are identifiable by date.

Currency may be diffiicult or impossible to determine.

Offers content invisible to Google and other search engines.

Has little of the content duplicated in databases and may charge for what is available.

Journal articles are usually signed by the author—by doing so the author’s reputation is on the line. You will usually be able to tell if the authors are affiliated with a university and may be able contact them


It may be impossible to determine who is responsible for the website and thus and impossible to contact them.


Online Tutorial

CINAHL Basic Searching
This is a brief demonstration of using keywords to search nursing articles in the CINAHL Plus with Full Text database.

Subject Guide

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