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HEA 314 — Health Behavior

ATTENTION: This research guide was last modified on February 02, 2010, before the January 2012 redesign of the library's home page. Information on how to access journal articles, databases, and other library resources may be inaccurate or outdated.

For up-to-date instructions on accessing materials, please visit our tutorial pages instead.


Contact Information

Carol Dales


Getting Started

Step One: Choosing a Topic

Step two: Search for Information

Step three: Evaluate everything you find

Step four: Write your paper and cite your sources

Getting Started
  • Do you already have a topic and a list of references to locate?
    Or do you have a topic you that have a good understanding of, but don't have any journal articles or books yet?
    Either way, start with Step Two: Search for Information .
  • No ideas on what you want to research? Start with Step One: Find a Topic.

Step One: Choosing a Topic
  • Does a specific class lecture topic intrigue you?
  • Does a section of one of your textbooks make you want to find out more about it? Are there additional references given at the ends of chapters?
  • Look at hard copy or electronic books that deal with the broad subject area that interests you. Books in the Library's RA 418 and RA 776  (Health behavior) areas are good sources of inspiration.You can also look through hard copy journals (on the 3rd floor of the Library) or electronic journals (look in ProQuest or EBSCOhost –see below) to get ideas for topics.

As you read background resources and scan current journal issues, watch for the following to help you construct your search:

  • Terms and phrases used to describe the subject and synonyms; make a note of different terms used for the same concept.
  • Parameters such as disease state, geographic location, environment, gender, ethnicity, age group.
  • Names of important researchers

Step two: Search for Information

FINDING BOOKS: Use the CSUDH Library online catalog.

        Search by author and /or title if looking for a specific item.

Search by subject; here are a few suggested subject headings to search:

  • Health Behavior
  • Health Attitudes -- United States
  • Health Education
  • Medical care -- Cross-cultural studies
  • Minorities -- medical care--United States
  • Patient Compliance
  • Transcultural medical care -- United States
  • Urban Health

         Other library catalogs to search (click "Other Library Catalogs")

FINDING JOURNAL ARTICLES: use CSUDH Library journal article databases.

To use CSUDH databases when you're off campus:

  1. You must be a current CSUDH student, faculty member or staff member.
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader software (v. 7.0 or later) must be installed on your computer. Many articles are available only in .pdf (portable document format) format; you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and/or print them. Get the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader free at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
  • For detailed information on how to log in to CSUDH Electronic databases , click here.
  • For an overview of how to use CSUDH databases to find journal articles , click here.
  • To limit your results to peer reviewed articles, look for the words "scholarly" and/or "peer reviewed" and place a check in the box beside these words. To find out more about peer-reviewed journals, go to the CSUDH Library page of frequently asked questions about Identifying, Locating and Citing Scholarly Journal Articles. (NOTE: there is a direct link to
    Ulrich's Periodical Directory in the last section of the "Identifying, Locating and Citing..."
    page above; use Ulrich's to verify that a specific journal actually observes the peer review process!


  • Go to the Nursing & Health Sciences page for access to selected databases, or use our comprehensive list of Journal Article Indexes to see all available CSUDH databases.
  • As you gather resources to support your ideas and add to your literature review, be sure to make notes while you are doing research to keep track of sources of information you use. This will help you avoid plagiarism and save time when you do your literature review and references.

Step three: Evaluate everything you find

Use this list of criteria to evaluate the relevance of resources you locate and hope to include in your literature review:

  • Relevance of content to my topic
  • Authority of the author(s)
  • Date of publication
  • Type of publication
  • Intended audience
  • References cited
  • Has this been cited or reviewed by others?

This article will also help you read and evaluate the journal articles you find:
"How to Read A Paper" discusses various types of medical research articles and what to look for in them (after you click on "How to Read a Paper, select "Register for free access").

This short article will help you evaluate Internet websites:
Evaluating evidence found on the Internet , by Suzanne C. Beyea, Association of Operating Room Nurses. AORN Journal, Denver ; Nov 2000; Vol. 72, Iss. 5; pg. 906.

Step four: Write your paper and cite your sources

As you write, observe the precautions against plagiarism and intellectual dishonesty issued by instructors and librarians on your campus! For more help, take a look at the CSUDH Plagiarism website at http://www.csudh.edu/class/services/studyskills/english/worksheets/plagiarism/avoiding_plagiarism.pdf

References at the end of your paper should be carefully formatted so others have all the information they need to find the journal articles and books you used. The most common style used for citing references in health sciences is American Psychological Association format:

The world's easiest guide to using the APA: a user friendly manual for formatting research papers according to the American Psychological Association style guide by Carol J. Amato. Call Number: BF76.7 .A62 1998 (at Reserve Book Desk on second floor)

APA Style.org , at http://www.apastyle.org/elecref.html ; has free online excerpts from the latest edition of the APA Style Manual.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab has an excellent online guide to the most recent version of APA format:http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_apa.html