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EXS 460: Research & Design in Exercise Science

Conducting Your Research




To find evidence in the literature, you must adopt an attitude of exploration and discovery. Set aside bias and expectations about what you think you will find and approach the research process with an open mind. Search two or three (or more) databases to comprehensively explore the literature, and follow a systematic search process as described below. Remember, "evidence" is a group of facts. One study is a piece of evidence; several studies resulting in complementary findings collectively provide evidence.

  1. Search concepts separately, using OR to combine synonyms and related terms
  2. Use the database search history to combine result lists with AND to narrow results
  3. Apply limiters (date, English language)
  4. Review and evaluate results, looking for evidence that addresses your criteria (problem, population, intervention, outcome)

Having Trouble?

Not finding articles about your topic? This can occurs for a few reasons:
  • Your topic may not be "what's hot" in the current literature.
  • Your topic might be difficult or impossible to test or study in a controlled, measurable way.
  • You might be searching for articles that support preconceived ideas or beliefs rather than exploring the literature to discover what studies exist.
  • Your topic may not have been studied yet.
  • Your search terms may not be what you should be using for a given database.

Whatever the cause, a failure to find research articles on your topic is an indication that you should seek assistance. So ask your instructor for feedback or speak with a librarian about your research process. Help is always available. All you need to do is ask.

Visit the Research Databases page of this guide for research database tips.