This research guide will help you get started on your research, and help you find books, articles, and credible web sources. If you need further help, please come to the library for a consultation with a reference librarian.
How do I find a book?
The best way to look for books on your topic is to search the library’s online catalog. Type one of the subject terms below into the text box, set the search to “Subject Browse,” and click Search.
- Convenience foods
- Fast food restaurants
- Health food
- Junk food
- Natural Foods
- Organic farming
As well, you can try doing a keyword search. Type your own search terms in the text box, set the search to “Keyword Relevance Search,” and click “Search.”
Can I use a reference book?
Reference books are a great resource for finding overviews of topics, and for finding background information on topics. You should use encyclopedias and other reference books to start your research, but then you should move beyond the encyclopedia to find other authoritative sources. (HINT: Encyclopedia articles will almost always have a bibliography that will lead you to other relevant works.)
Below are some reference books you might find useful:
Cambridge World History of Food
Reference Collection (TX353 .C255)
Dictionary of Calories and Carbohydrates
Reference Collection (TX551 .K72)
Dictionary of Sodium, Fats, and Cholesterol
Reference Collection (TX551 .K73)
Diet and Nutrition Sourcebook: Basic Information about Nutrition
Main Collection (RA784 .D534)
Encyclopedia of Food and Culture
Reference Collection (GT2850 .E53)
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
Reference Collection (RA784 .M85)
Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food
Reference Collection (TX370 .S63)
Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Good Health
Reference Collection (RA784 .R464)
Food for Health
Reference Collection (TX349 .F573)
Food Values and Portions Commonly Used
Reference Collection (TX551 .P385)
Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia
Reference Collection (TX349 .F575)
Oxford Companion to Food
Reference Collection (TX349 .D36)
How can I find articles on my topic?
To find articles, use one of the databases listed below:
CQ Researcher—online journal that provides reports on many social topics.
Gale Virtual Reference Library—use this database for information about a person or a topic.
EBSCOhost—use “Academic Search Complete” and “MasterFILE Complete” for articles from scholarly journals as well as popular magazines and newspapers. Also, you can use “MEDLINE,” “Health Source — Consumer Edition,” and “Alt HealthWatch” to find articles on your topic.
US Newsstream (ProQuest)—articles from current newspapers
ProQuest Newspapers—articles from the LA Times, 1985-present.
Is there a way to find credible internet sites that my instructor will approve of?
The internet is a valuable research tool, but you have to keep in mind that anyone can put anything they want on the web. As a student, you need to think critically about the sources you find, and you need to evaluate the information. Important points to consider are criteria like authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage.
Subject directories like ipl2, INFOMINE, and Open Directory Project are great places to search for credible information. Try any of these directories and either browse by topic or type in search terms to find web sites on your topic. As well, below are some web sites you might find useful:
Calorie Control Council
News and information about calorie control, weight loss, and low-calorie and reduced-fat foods and beverages, from a “non-profit association representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry.” Includes calculators, dieting trends, and descriptions of low-calorie sweeteners, polyols, and fat replacers.
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
Publications and alerts from this “advocate for nutrition and health, food safety, alcohol policy, and sound science.” Features policy papers and other documents on topics such as youth and alcohol, alcohol advertising, food additives, food borne illnesses, conflicts of interest in science, and nutrition labeling.
Eco-Labels: The Consumers Union Guide to Environmental Labels
Explains environmental product labels such as “bird-friendly,” “cruelty free,” “fair trade certified,” “certified organic,” and “USDA Organic.” Browse labels by name, logo design, product (such as food or personal hygiene), and other factors.
Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol
This site addresses the relationship between fats and cholesterol and the effects of fats on health. Topics discussed include dietary fats and cancer, cholesterol and heart disease, fats and obesity, and more.
MedlinePlus: Dietary Fats
Collection of links to fact sheets and other documents about dietary fats. Topics include types of fats, trans fats, low-fat foods, fat substitutes, fats and cholesterol, clinical trials and research, nutrition, and more.
Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
“The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. They serve as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education programs.”
Provides a searchable database of food composition and nutrition information. Each result includes a nutrition facts panel; a calorie ratio pyramid for carbohydrates, fats, and protein; and detailed information about minerals, vitamins, and other components of the food item.
The National Organic Program
Official information about the organic standards program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Explains the “USDA Organic” labels found on food and beverage packaging, marketing phrases (such as “organic,” which “must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt)”), news and updates, and material for producers and retailers. From the USDA.
NOTE: The annotations for the web sites listed above are taken from ipl2.
How do I get more help finding sources for my topic?
If you feel like you need help getting started, finding more detailed materials, or if you have any questions in general, please feel free to come to the library and ask a reference librarian for help.
If you have trouble accessing this page and need help, contact a librarian at the reference desk at (714) 484-7069.