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PBHL-E517 Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Getting Started

This guide is designed for students of Dr. Steele's PBHL-E517 Fundamentals of Epidemiology class.

To write the research paper for this class, you will need to use many different types of resources to investigate a significant epidemiological event, analyze data supporting each side of the controversy, and craft an argument.

Types of sources include:

  • Historical (newspapers, magazines, digital library collections)
  • Scientific & academic (library databases)
  • Policy & legislation
  • Grey literature (unpublished literature, reports or white papers from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private companies)
  • Statistics

Most resources on this guide can be used for all four research topics, but topic-specific resources are also included.

It's a process

Starting a research paper or project can be confusing and intimidating. Diving right in with a search engine like Google or a library database isn't always the best approach. Try a little planning first. Think about what you need for your project. The process below may help you understand exactly what you need to complete your paper.

  1. Develop a clear and answerable research question - clear, specific, relevant to the assignment
  2. Pick 2-3 key terms (i.e., topics) from your research question for your search.
  3. Come up with 2-3 synonyms for each topic. Write them down.
  4. Pick a database. This is hard, but asking your subject librarian, reading the descriptions, or exploring them with a quick search can help you find the right one.
  5. Find subject headings in the database's thesaurus for each key term you identified. Use your synonyms to help you find the right subject headings. This will increase your chances of getting relevant results and will help keep out irrelevant articles.
  6. If you need scholarly peer-reviewed articles, use a filter. It's usually titled "peer-reviewed" or "academic journals" or "journal articles."
  7. Getting full-text - don't ever pay for an article or book. Use our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) tool. We'll borrow it from a partner and deliver it to you, for free.
  8. Save and organize the resources you found and your search strategy for the writing phase of the project.

Tutorial Slides & Transcripts