Choosing a Database (Nutrition)

Updated Summer, 2011:

Foods and Nutrition is a very interdisciplinary subject, which makes choosing a database that much more difficult.  Luckily, Western Libraries and Brescia introduced a new product called Summon over the summer of 2011 that can act as an easy starting place for interdisciplinary programs.  I recommend starting your search in Summon: you should be able to get a good foundation of articles using this product, so that choosing a database becomes your “step two.”

After consulting Summon, it’s important to review what research you already have.  Then you can move on to making a list of what information you still need (i.e. what questions do you still have to answer? What is it that you’re looking for?)  After that, you’ll need to choose a database based on the research you still need to find.  Here are some options for you:


Some of your courses are quite science-heavy (i.e. Food Science, Clinical Nutrition), so the following databases will be suitable for sciencey research needs:

  • PubMed (current research in medicine, nursing and health care)
  • Web of Knowledge (huge, broad science database)
  • Scopus (chemistry, math, physics, life sciences, health sciences)
  • IBIDS (stuff on dietary supplements, vitamins and botanicals here)
  • CINAHL (health sciences and medicine)

Social Science

A lot of your assignments will have a more social science angle (i.e. you might have to look at people’s motivations or behaviour), especially in classes like community nutrition.  For these types of research questions, you can try the following:

  • Web of Knowledge (again, huge broad database with lots of social science information, too)
  • Scopus (also good for social science)
  • ProQuest Research Library (another super huge database – has information on almost everything)

Other Databases

  • ERIC (for education information, if you’re doing a project on community nutrition)
  • PsycINFO (for psychology information, like if you need motivation or behaviour information)