Nutrition Research Methods

Recommended resources to support the literature review assignment in NUTR 4103/5103.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

  • Document a study, experiment, trial or research project​
  • Usually written by the person(s) who conducted the research​
  • Examples include: ​
    • Clinical trials, Randomized controlled trials, or Field trials,​
    • Case studies,​ Cohort studies,​ or Pilot/prospective studies, 
    • Dissertations, ​
    • Lab notebooks

Secondary Sources

  • Summarize, compare, and evaluate primary sources​
  • Often include a bibliography which lists the primary research reported on in the secondary source​
  • Examples Include: ​
    • Reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analysis​,
    • Monographs/Books​,
    • Entries in nursing or medical encyclopedias​,
    • Government & legal information​,
    • Practice guidelines & standards​,
    • Clinical care notes​,
    • Patient education information


University of Washington | Tacoma, Library. (2023, January 17). Primary & Secondary Sources - Nursing & Health - Library Guides at University of Washington Libraries. University of Washington Libraries.

Search Results

Limit, Narrow, or Refine

After running a search in a library database, the page of results typically includes several options for limiting, narrowing, or refining the search results. These options help to reduce the volume of results, without requiring that you run additional searches with new keywords.

Common limiters: 

  • Date: consider changing the date range to only include recent publications, such as titles published with the last 5 or 10 years.
  • Source Type: this is helpful for limiting to either primary or secondary sources
    • Example primary source limiters: Academic Journals, Article, Clinical Trial, Randomized Control Trial, Dissertations
    • Example secondary source limiters: Books, Magazines, Review Article, Review, Systematic Review, CEU Models (Continuing Education Unit, available in CINAHL)
  • Subject(s):
    • these are tags that briefly describe core topics or sub-topics and main ideas covered by a resource
    • by clicking the box to include results tagged with specific subjects, the results will refresh with fewer titles listed
    • MeSH tags are Medical Subject Headings created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Locate Full Text

From Citation to Full Text PDF

A database will serve as a point of discovery for scholarly, academic resources, helping you to understand what has been published on your topic, but the full text may not be immediately available (you can get it): 

  • Citation: at a minimum, the database will provide the citation information needed to find the resource elsewhere
  • Citation & Abstract: when the abstract or summary is included, it is helpful for discerning whether that resource truly aligns with your topic
  • Full Text (HTML): the HTML version includes text, but no tables or images
  • Full Text PDF: the PDF files can be the most easy to use as they include tables, images, and page numbers (helpful when citing sources)


Saving Full Text

  • When the Full Text (HTML) or Full Text PDF is available, consider downloading a copy or email it to yourself from the database (which will send it as an attachment)


Full Text: OneSearch and ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan)

When viewing the description of a promising title in a database, look for the "Find It!" option, often paired with a flying hog.

This will either:

  1. direct you to OneSearch, where we may have access to the full text available via a different subscription -- if so, the appropriate link will be provided; 
  2. or it will direct you to sign into ILLiad to use the Interlibrary Loan service to access the resource.

The Interlibrary Loan department borrows the resources that our University Libraries do not have immediate access to. All current students and Uark employees can utilize their Uark email address and password to set up their ILLiad account.