Skip to Main Content

HS 390W: Current Health Issues

Use this guide to access resources for research in Health Sciences. Contact a librarian for advanced research assistance.

Identifying the Main Concepts of Your Research Question

Before you start to search in any of the health resources, identify the main concepts of your research question.  These concepts will become the keywords that you will use to search in academic database and government websites. 

Since different words are recognized within each resource, consider alternative keywords (synonyms and related words).


Main Concept Alternative Keywords or Limiters
children child, young adult, school-age, 9 - 12 year olds
nutrition eating habits, vitamins, nutritional deficiency
"academic achievement" school, grades, academic performance


Using quotes will force the database to search for two or more words as a single concept.  With the quotes, the database will search "academic achievement" and without the quotes the database will search academic AND achievement.  Without the quotes around both words, the words may not appear together in the results. 

Background vs. Foreground Information

 Background vs. Foreground Information

Foreground information is the complex, precise information often needed in order to answer a research question.  Before searching for foreground information, however, make sure you have a good understanding of each of the concepts.  If you don't have adequate knowledge about your topic, you will need to search for background information in order to fully understand the foreground information you find. 

Resources for background information