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ENH 816 Health Promotion: Searching the Literature

This guide was developed to help students in ENH 816 complete Written Assignment I, which requires a literature review of health promotion strategies and approaches that have been used in programs to address your chosen issue.

Description of the Written Assignment Part I

  • The objectives of this research assignment are to acquire an in-depth understanding of a health promotion issue facing students at universities/colleges and identify promising strategies to address this issue. 

  • Select a student health issue and describe the issue from a public health perspective using research evidence. 

  • Conduct an literature review of health promotion strategies and approaches that have been used in programs to address this issue. 

  • Summarize and interpret the research findings.

  • Based on the literature review, draw conclusions on promising practices. 

  • In addition to the TMU Library and health promotion academic journals, here is a good list of evidence-based health promotion resources.

What types of sources can I use for this assignment?

Look for Scholarly Sources

For this assignment, look for scholarly articles in academic journals and they are written by researchers, professors and other experts.

They contain:

  • Expert knowledge

  • Are double checked for accuracy by other experts (Peer Reviewed

  • Have good research methods

  • Focus on a specific topic/issue

Scholarly articles are found in databases on the library's website. When looking at your search results, you will see a button or check mark to click to limit your results to scholarly / peer reviewed articles.

*You might also find an article that disagrees with your argument. Incorporating “dissenting” sources into your paper and debating their merit with your other supporting sources is exactly what scholarship is about. Scholarly writing is a conversation and a debate between your ideas and your sources.


 Accuracy and quality of information matters

What are "databases"?

A database is an organized collection of information like Netflix, which is a database of streaming videos. Library databases are collections of scholarly articles, ebooks, and more.

Library databases allow you to search through millions of scholarly and popular articles, making your life easier. They let you:

  • Read full text of articles in PDF or HTML (just look for the “Full Text Link” or the “GET IT” link).

  • Narrow your results to only “peer reviewed”

  • Email the article to yourself

  • Show you how to cite your article in APA (or another citation style you need)

Research Help

Hello - you've come to the right place if you are looking for research help!

I can help with literature reviews, finding scholarly articles, books, conducting systematic reviews and advice about scholarly communication.

You can book a Zoom appointment with me via email, and we'll figure out a time that works for us both. Screen sharing in Zoom can be an effective way to learn how to conduct effective searches in specific databases, and we can talk about any issues you may be encountering along the way.

I also encourage you to use Ask a Librarian Chat, our live chat research help service that connects students, faculty and researchers with real-time research assistance.  If you need immediate help as you are working, you can chat with us during the day, evening and on the weekend. In the meantime, check out the research guide that I maintain on Occupational and Public Health.

You can also attend our virtual workshop series to learn more about library resources, services and programming, which includes topics such as how to complete a literature review, conducting market research, and using Adobe Illustrator.



Find articles using Search Everything

1. SEARCH EVERYTHING searches through the majority of the Library's databases, e-book/book collection, newspapers and more. You can view some videos demonstrating the various features of Search Everything embedded in the screen captures below. 

2. Type in your keywords and click the Go button. Your keywords should reflect the main concepts of your research question.  There is an implicit AND between concepts; Search Everything assumes you want results with all concepts included.  It also searches for related terms, e.g. synonyms. "Phrase searching" will look for results with the exact phrase included,

For example: smoking cessation "health promotion" college students 

3. Limit your search to peer-reviewed articles on the left side of your screen 

4. Review the Abstract under More Information - the abstract is a summary of the full article.  Click on the “Full Text” link to read the article.

5. To save your records, mark and email them to yourself - use the option to email them in the citation style of your choice to save time with references!  

Start Searching 

Tips for Searching Subject-Specific Databases

  • Login with your torontomu account

  • Use the Advanced Search options to create more detailed searches and expand relevant results

  • Play with synonyms (like terms) to expand your results, using Boolean logic (AND, OR, NOT) in databases

  • Separate your concepts into individual rows to include synonymous terms, e.g. college OR university 

  • Take advantage of additional features in databases, which can help identify highly-cited research, specific types of research design, and other subsets of the literature

  • Example of an advanced search in PsycInfo - video embedded below:

Relevant Databases in the Field