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MPH5212: Proposal, Annotated Bibliography, and Literature Review

Learn how to develop your proposal topic and how to transform your annotated bibliography into a literature review

Finding Journal Articles

How do I find scholarly articles?

The Library's Databases A-Z page is the gateway to finding millions of scholarly articles in the library, but searching the databases is different than searching Google or other search engines.

Learn More! Review our Search Strategy tutorial to learn how to save time with a good search.

What are Peer Reviewed Articles?

What is a peer-reviewed article?

The peer-review publishing model is very different from the peer review you do in writing classes.

Learn more! Watch our tutorial: What is peer review?

Preliminary Search Strategy

For this project you will need to gather peer reviewed articles for your Annotated Bibliography.  A main goal in finding articles is to gather scholarly evidence to support your proposal arguments.

Some prefer to refine their idea first and use it to inform their library search. Others prefer to start in the library databases and let their library search help refine their topic. This process is called the preliminary search.

Preliminary Search Strategy: 

1.  Carefully read the assignment to identify research needs.

Here are the main research requirements of the Assessment and Surveillance Plan Project (though there may be others):

Research Elements: Assessment and Surveillance Plan Project

  •  Specific health issue: e.g. congestive heart failure, obesity or STDs
  •  Identify culture(s) and demographic(s) affected and their specific needs: e.g. poverty, Asian or elderly
  •  Policy or policies that influence the health issue: e.g. vaccination requirements, insurance coverage, Older Americans Act

You will want a nice variety of articles to establish your arguments. Relevant articles may touch on all three levels above, two out of the three, or only one element at a time. Therefore, you will need to try different search strategies to perform a thorough search.

 

2.  Plan your search strategy and identify keywords. Here are some approaches for searching for scholarly articles: 

  • Mix and match to try different element combinations: e.g. congestive heart failure and poverty; obesity and (specific cultural group); restrictions and HIV
  • Search on a specific condition/problem and scan articles for related policies: e.g. STDs and detection and public health
  • Policy or policies that influence the health issue:  e.g. vaccination requirements, insurance coverage, Older Americans Act 

You will want a nice variety of articles to establish your arguments. Relevant articles may touch on all three levels above, two out of the three, or only one element at a time. Therefore, you will need to try different search strategies perform a thorough search.

 

3.  Think about where to find information about policy.

You may get some good ideas from this Mechanic article. He mentions specific instances where social policy and health disparities are related. 

Mechanic, D. (2002). Disadvantage, inequality, and social policyHealth Affairs, 21(2), 48-59.  Retrieved May 30, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. 

What is a social policy?  This may be the most difficult element to find. Most social policies are not labeled with the word “policy” and they may have any of these qualities:

  •  Regional in scope
  •  National in scope
  •  Formal or have legal roots
  •  Informal – rooted in social assumption or smaller institutional regulations

As you brainstorm for search topics, keep an eye out for articles that mention disadvantage or cultural inequalities and their relationships to health disparities. Those will be a clue that indicates a policy/disparity connection.