Functional Nutrition: Concept tutorials

Spring 2024 session with Torie Scott, PCC librarian

Library and research concepts

Below are several videos and materials that introduce some concepts we'll use in class. These are:

  • How to be a savvy consumer of science news
  • What are bibliographic (aka library) databases and why do you need them?
  • Types of articles
  • Peer review process for scientific and scholarly journal articles
  • How to read a scientific article
  • Google search tips

How to Be a Savvy Consumer of Science News

What are library databases? Video

This 4:19 video describes what library databases are, why you might want to use one, and how to choose the right ones for your project. It also shows you how to use the PCC Library Articles and Databases page to find databases to use for your project. 

Types of Articles

There are many different types of articles. The chart below can help you figure out which type(s) you're looking for or identify an article you've already found:

Decorative image of a newspaper News articles provide the most current information. Certain newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, are also known for thoughtful, in-depth analyses of important topics and events.
Decorative image of a magazine cover Popular magazine articles can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic, which you might want to explore further. They sometimes refer to studies or scholarly work that you can track down for more information.
Decorative image of a trade magazine cover Trade publications are written by and for professionals within an industry. These are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field.
Decorative image of a scholarly journal cover Scholarly journal articles go through a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field (the people with letters after their name!) and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the discipline. These articles might present original research data and findings, or take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read, because their intended audience is other experts and academics, but they are at the top of the line when it comes to authoritative information.

What is Peer Review?

Infographic describing the peer-review process.

How to read a scholarly journal article

New to scholarly science journals?  Reading scientific literature is different than reading a novel or a news article. They are not as well written and they make you work harder to understand. Here are some tips on how to read a scientific article:

Advanced Google Seatching

One of the best features of Google's advanced search is the ability to limit your search to the areas of the web where the information is most reliable, such as education sites or government sites. The shortcut for this is to add site:edu or site:gov to your regular Google search.

For example, if you conduct an ordinary Google search for nutritional supplements, most of your top results will be commercial (.com) sites trying to sell you vitamins. If you search for nutritional supplements site:gov , the top results (except for the sponsored ads) will be sites such as the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, which are authoritative, unbiased sources that are not trying to sell you anything. If you search for nutritional supplements site:edu, your top results will be from universities providing research on nutritional supplements.

Evaluating Sources on the Web

On the web, it can be difficult to tell what type of source you’re looking at and whether or not it’s something that would provide quality evidence for your assignment. This video will help you look more critically at your own search results.