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EXS 450 - Directed Research in Exercise Science

This guide aims to provide resources to support the Directed Research in Exercise Science course and assignments.

Scholarly Articles Video

Characteristics of a Scholarly (Peer Reviewed, Refereed) Article

  1. Title may/may not indicate scholarship with words in title such as “journal” or “review.”
  2. Main purpose is original research.
  3. Will nearly always have an abstract (descriptive summary of the research) written by the author.
  4. Language of the article assumes technical background knowledge.
  5. Author is usually a scholar or researcher.  Often affiliated with an academic community which may/may not be mentioned as part of the record.
  6. May contain graphics, illustrations, charts, etc. as supporting evidence.
  7. Article has been evaluated by “peers” – other experts in the field who agree that the research meets standards and is original and adds to the scholarly conversation.
  8. The length of the article is usually more than 4-5 pages.
  9. There is a method of study that is generally acceptable within the discipline of study.  Frequently the methodology is mentioned in the abstract.
  10. A scholarly article will always have a list of references used (footnotes and bibliography.)
  11. Reputable scholarly articles will not rely on websites, news sources, but will uses previous scholarly research.

Advanced Kinds of Search Strategies

There are four kinds of searching options. Good searchers are aware of each one and when and how to use them interchangeably or based on the database requirements.

1. Simple word strings. I call this building-block searching. 

2. Boolean searching.  See a more detailed description on this page.

3. Natural language to subject headings and sub-headings. You must use subject headings or at least be aware of them when using PubMed and Medline. 

4. Citation Pearl Growing. Finding a good article or source with a current and useful bibliography may lead you to the kinds of articles you need. Note the importance of finding the primary authors who are doing research in your field. Pay special attention to locating a literature review on your topic Literature review articles cover the current literature in one central location.

Accomplished and skilled researchers are able to determine basic aspects of database organization using multiple strategies. Good researchers understand the usefulness of bakground information, bibliographies and are conversant with the vocabulary of the discipline. Good researchers are familiar with a wide variety of tools and use them wisely, not dependent on one specific source.

What is a DOI number and why does it matter?

DOI=digital object identifier

It is a permanent identifier that will take you straight to a document no matter where it’s located on the Internet. When available they are usually part of the citation or on the main or first page of an article.

Before you begin looking for a DOI for your article you should know:  

1. Not all articles have a DOI number. While the majority of articles published today do have DOI numbers, most older articles -more than two years old-- do not. Some publishers are adding DOIs to older articles. 

2.. While some library databases provide the DOI number as part of the article's citation, this is not consistent across databases. 

When you have a DOI number you can use a DOI locator to link you to the article (sometimes in full text or sometimes just the citation.)

DOI Locators:



3. Here are some basic guidelines from APA Publication Manual (6th edition) for citing electronic sources.

  • For print or electronic journals, include the issue number only when the journal is paginated separately by issue.
  • The retrieval date and database information are not needed for articles retrieved from online sources. Instead, include the article's DOI.
  • If there is no DOI, provide the URL for the journal homepage as the second choice. The retrieval date is not required in this type of reference.
  • In the rare instances that the journal does not have its own homepage (such as for older journals no longer in print but converted to online documents), provide (a) the database homepage or (b) the name of the database and the accession number.
  • A retrieval date is only needed in the reference list for nonjournal instances where material might change at a later date.
  • For online newspaper and magazine articles you need not provide the specific page number, retrieval date, or exact article URL. You would provide only the periodical's home page.


Research Strategies: Boolean

1. Start with the words that are familiar to you. If your research topic is: What does the recent literature suggest regarding the correlation between concussion/brain damage in (American) football (not soccer) and cognition your possible search terms might be:




Each of these terms is entered into one of the search boxes on the database search screen.

AND   Football
AND      Cognition

But this search may not and probably will not yield the best results. There are two things you can do to make your search more precise: determine additional synonyms or related terms. Often these are more specific and use the language of the profession. You can add these additional terms and join them in the same subject line.

     Concussion OR "brain concussion" OR "second impact syndrome" OR "brain damage" OR "brain trauma" OR "intracranial injury"
 AND  Football
 AND Cognition OR Learning
 NOT     Soccer

You should know that there are three Boolean operators:

AND--each of the words or terms must be in the record, AND reduces the number of results.

OR--increases the size of the set you are searching.

NOT--excludes a particular word or concept from the search. 


Evaluating Information: CARS


--Information is from a trustworthy source.

--The author's credentials are available.

--The author or organization is a known or respected authority.


--The information is up to date, truthful, with sufficient detail.

--The audience and purpose reflects attempt to be complete and accurate.


--The author attempts fair, balanced, objective, reasoned,

--There is an absence of fallacy

--There is no apparent slant or biased tone.


--This item lists sources used and is well documented.

--Contact information is supplied,

--Information can be substantiated or corroborated; claims are  supported with evidence.

CARS criteria developed by Robert Harris, Vanguard University

Steps for Ordering on ILL

Steps for ordering a book through interlibrary loan.

1. Be sure that you have an ILLIAD account. You need to sign up for an ILLIAD account using the link here:  This link can be found on the Zondervan Library home page under Interlibrary Loan.

2. Using World Cat Research Station, perform the search. Example: Title: Leg pain in the running athlete Author: Alexander K. Meininger Publisher: Philadelphia, Pa. ; London : Saunders, 2012.

3. In the body of the record scroll down to World Cat: find it in libraries globally. To the right is a link: Request item through Interlibrary Loan.

4. This Link goes to your ILLIAD account. Log in to ILLIAD. The information on this record should automatically fill in the request form. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Submit Request

Steps for ordering an article through interlibrary loan. 

1. Be sure that you have an ILLIAD account. You need to sign up for an ILLIAD account using the link listed above. This link can also be found on the Zondervan Library home page under Interlibrary Loan.

2. Using the desired database, perform a search. Example using PubMed:  

Journal Title: Clin Sports Med. 2012 Apr;31(2):203-15. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2011.11.002. Article Title: Evaluation of the injured runner. Authors: Meininger AK1, Koh JL.

3. The full title is Clinics in Sports Medicine. You can usually copy the journal abbreviation in Google or use the doi to determine the exact title.

4. Cut and paste this title into Journal Finder located on the main Zondervan Library page. This verifies that we do not own the title in full text in another ZL database. This is an essential step that saves time. If Zondervan Library owns or has access to the item in full text form it will not be delivered to you through your ILLIAD account. The Interlibrary Loan department may inform you that we have access to it by email as a courtesy to you. But this is not guaranteed. You will ultimately have to redo a search.

5. You do NOT need or want to order any article directly from a publisher linking from the PubMed site. The access to articles this way is very costly. Zondervan is usually able to obtain the item from a local college or university for free or in some cases we have accounts for purchasing on- demand articles. Let us find it for you, in most cases at a more reasonable cost that what Science Direct, Elsevier or other publishers will charge.

6. You can then import the needed information into a blank ILLIAD form and submit the request.

7.  OR  For an easier way to automatically order an item in PubMed, you can choose MEDLINE (which is basically the same database as PubMed) and use the easy to find  link to interlibrary loan  External Link IconBorrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan)

8. PubMed does not have an easy to use interlibrary loan link at this time.