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Library Research Guides

NUTRI 481 - Professor Gonsalves (Fall 2022): Using Library Databases

Where Do I Start?

Choose Your Topic. You are to research an aspect of cultural foods of the world, looking at traditional and contemporary food customs and cultures. Topics may include cereal grains in different cultures; from hunter/gatherer to farmer or agrarian lifestyle; and the role of spices, coffee, tea, and dairy in various cultures.

One way to find a topic is by looking at your textbook, Food & Culture: A Reader, or by reviewing one of the reserve books especially for this class (click on "Selected Print Books" tab above for more information).

Okay, I've Got My Topic, Now What?

Brainstorm Keywords about Your Topic. A keyword search is a great start to finding books and articles using our library catalog and online research databases. Brainstorm on a piece of paper any keywords you can think of about your topic. Look for other keywords in your search results as you research. Look for the subject categories of various books and articles to give you ideas for additional keyword searches.

Basic Topic Example: The culture and food of Mexico

Brainstormed keywords:

  • Mexico or Mexican
  • food culture
  • food traditions
  • anthropology or anthropological
  • heritage food
  • religious ceremony
  • food history
  • celebrations or festivals
  • food movements
  • food security
  • coffee production
  • food society

I Have Some Keywords About My Topic, Where Do I Find Books and Articles?

Search Library Databases for Books and Articles.

Using a library research database is different from using Google and searching the World Wide Web. Library research databases contain reliable articles like those you would find in print magazines, journals, and newspapers. You can even access these databases from off-campus with an Internet connection (go to ARC Library website).

Click to see a list of all library databases.

Suggested keyword searches below for the topic, the culture and food of Mexico. Note: The asterisk (*) is used as a wildcard to search for variations of a word.


  • Mexic* food culture
  • Mexic* food traditions
  • Mexic* food security
  • Mexic* corn maize
  • Mexican culture
  • global history Mexican food

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