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Michigan State University

Food Studies

Resources for conducting research in food studies. Last updated: 12/11/23.

Finding Articles

To find articles on a particular topic in magazines and journals, you need to use a periodical index or database. Most include abstracts summarizing the article content and some provide the full text of articles. A database may be subject-specific or cross-disciplinary; it may cover just the popular literature, only scholarly publications, or a mixture. The Libraries have a helpful chart you can consult for information on distinguishing between popular, scholarly, and trade publications.

Recommended Resources


Which database should I use?

You can browse the library database list by subject using the drop down menu. Depending on your research, you may need to browse several subjects: e.g., Food Science & Nutrition, Sociology, Psychology, Public Policy, History, Ethnic Studies, etc. Some recommedned databases are listed below; these are good places to start your search.

Once you've connected to the desired database, you can search for articles by keyword(s). Depending on whether you are searching the nutrition, psychology, sociology, or other literature, your keywords might be different because of the focus of the database. "Dietary assessment" or "food intake" might work well in PubMed, but in Sociological Abstracts you would expect the emphasis to be more on foodways, food culture, etc., as opposed to nutritional status. Be flexible in your choice of terminology; consider synonyms (foodways vs. food habits; cookery vs. cooking vs. cuisine; farming vs. agriculture) 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, and examine both the citing and cited references to locate other potentially useful items.