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PUBH 1010: Introduction to Public Health: Search for Scholarly Literature

Searching for articles

There are multiple ways to search for reliable and credible journal articles related to public health.

  • You may search in one or more of the library databases that are linked in the "Suggested Databases for Public Health Literature" box below.
  • Browse or search within specific journals linked in the "Public Health Journals", "Gerontology Journals", or "Medical Journals" boxes below and on the right side of this page.
  • Search in the "Online Articles" tab on library.unt.edu. "Online Articles" simultaneously searches almost all of the databases that the UNT Library subscribes to.

If you do use Google Scholar*, here is a quick way to ensure that you will be able to link to full text through the UNT Libraries. 

  • Starting at Google Scholar,
  • Click the horizonal lines menu icon at the top left of page
  • Select Settings 
  • Select Library links 
  • Search for University of North Texas 
  • Select "University of North Texas System -- Find it! @UNT System"
  • Also select "UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS -- Proquest Fulltext"
  • Click Save

If you are not logged into a Google account, you will need to complete the above steps before each search session in Google Scholar.

*Also keep in mind that Google Scholar does not necessarily return only peer-reviewed or scholarly results. You will have to evaluate sources found in Google Scholar, to determine whether or not they are appropriate peer-reviewed research articles published in credible journals. If you start by searching the library databases instead, you can limit your searches to only peer-reviewed journal articles. 

Suggested Databases for Public Health Literature

Search Tips

In general, when searching the library databases...

Keywords are...

  • A good way to start a search.
  • The important concepts in your own words.
  • Found anywhere in the article (title, author, subject terms, etc.).

Use Quotation Marks to Search for a Phrase...

  • Searching for "Quality of life" will bring back only results that have the words in that exact order.

Connecting the concepts (keywords)...

  • Link different parts of your topic with "AND" to get results that contain both terms.
  • Join similar ideas or synonyms with "OR" to find results that contain either of the terms.
  • Exclude concepts with "NOT" 

Search for a root word...

  • Add an * at the end of a word to search for all possible endings/suffixes 
  • teen* will search for teen, teens, teenager, teenagers

Limit to Peer-Reviewed, Refereed or Scholarly articles...

  • Peer-review is part of the publication & editorial process for academic and research journals.  Being peer-reviewed is a sign that a paper's author(s) have done a certain level of due diligence in their work and their research is complete, manages conflicts-of-interest, and is fair and objective.

Narrow the Date Range...

  • When looking for current research limit your date range to the last 5-10 years.

Still not finding anything?  Ask your Librarian!

How to Develop Keywords

When searching the library databases for articles, typing an entire sentence or question into the search field will not produce good results. Instead use keywords that describe your topic.

Developing Keywords

Identify the important nouns or main ideas in your research question. For example:

  • Research Question: What are the consequences of the spread of incorrect health information on social media?

Generate synonyms for each main term, along with words that are narrower, broader, and related.

  • Incorrect information: deceit, manipulation, lies, false, misinformation, fake news
  • Social media: online, websites, internet, social networking
  • Health: wellness, physical wellbeing, medical

Start searching in a database and connect your keywords with AND, OR, and, NOT as appropriate

  • A search for this topic could look like:
    • misinformation AND health AND social media 
    • incorrect information AND medical AND social networking websites
    • (lies OR false information) AND health AND online 

Pay attention to the results and modify your keywords as necessary.

  • Titles and abstracts in the results may help you identify new keywords
  • Keep in mind that keywords will evolve as you search. The more you search and learn about your topic, the easier it will be to develop keywords and search for more relevant articles. 

How to Create Keywords Video Tutorials

Keyword Generators

What Is Peer Review?

Many instructors require you to use peer-reviewed sources for your papers and projects, but what does that mean?

  • Peer review is the process of having experts in a field review the quality of an article or book before it is published
  • Most articles in scholarly and academic journals are peer-reviewed
  • Books published by university or academic presses are peer-reviewed

Many databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles.  If the database you are using doesn't provide for this, you can determine if the article you are viewing is peer reviewed by searching for the title of the journal which published the article in: Ulrichsweb


The Referee Shirt icon indicates the journal is refereed or peer reviewed.

InterLibrary Loan

If UNT Libraries does not own an item you need for your reserch, you can use Interlibrary Loan.  Interlibrary Loan provides access to collections of other institutions world-wide. You may receive the actual item, a photocopy, or a PDF, depending on the size of the requested item and copyright restrictions. To use Interlibrary Loan Services you will need to create an ILLiad account

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