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Michigan State University

VM 830: Food Safety Research Methods: Finding Articles

A guide to MSU Library resouces and services.


To search the contents of magazines, journals, and newspapers for articles on a particular topic, use a periodical index or database. Most include abstracts summarizing the article content and some provide the full text of articles. An index/database may be subject-specific or cross-disciplinary; it may cover just the popular literature, only scholarly publications, or a mixture. View this video for help distinguishing between popular, scholarly or trade publications.

Which index/database should I use?

For help in identifying an appropriate database, browse databases by subject using the drop-down menu. Depending on your research, you may need to browse several subjects: e.g., Biological Sciences, Food Science & Nutrition, Government, Law, Medicine, Packaging, Public Policy, Veterinary Medicine.

Once you've connected to the desired database, you can search for articles by keyword(s). Different databases may use different terminology or spelling, so be flexible in your choice of keywords, considering synonyms/alternate terms (e.g., food safety vs. food security; genetically modified organisms vs. GMOs) and various word endings (e.g., singular vs. plural). Examine the subject headings or descriptors associated with articles of interest to identify other potentially useful keywords.

A Few Suggested Indexes

What about Google Scholar?

Google Scholar is a simple tool for conducting a broad search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. While you are a student at MSU, you will want to set up your Google Scholar Preferences in order to gain seamless access to MSU subscriptions (scroll down on the page).      

Subject Guide