GHS 200, Introduction to Health Science (Sawhney, Spring 2012)

by Theresa Rhodes last modified 2016-04-28T16:30:24-04:00

Note: This guide will use the topic of effects of sleep deprivation/sleep apnea on public health as an example to help you navigate the Tarver Library in finding articles, books, and websites for your paper/project.  You may also want to consult the RefWorks guide that walks you through how to export your citations into this data manager.  We also have a Zotero guide from Georgia State University that shows you how to use this citation manager (stand alone version as well as a Firefox addon) that collects, manages, and cites research sources.  Compared to RefWorks, Zotero is free and is not tied to a specific institution.

Try your subject using these resources and let us know if you need more help--you can simply click on the links to the right to ask a question (e-mail, text, and IM options all available) or schedule a research consultation, or you can stop by and see us at the Reference Desk.

Get Prepared to Search:

Before searching for articles (databases) or books (library catalog), spend some time thinking about your topic and coming up with different ways of expressing the subject.  For example:

  • sleep deprivation
  • sleep apnea
  • sleep disorders
  • public health
  • risks
  • hazards

Also, think about other ways of limiting your subject, if it seems too big to handle.  For example:

  • impacts on children or teenagers or senior adults--specific population
  • research published since 2001 or only the last three to five years--publication years
  • geographical differences--more or less depending on terrain or environment?

Remember that each database has their own "tips and tricks" for searching, so be sure and look at those when entering your search results.

Take the time now to jot down synonyms as well as any limiting factors and then plug them in as needed to find more or fewer results.  Refer back to this list and add other subject headings, author supplied keywords, and other terms from articles or books you discover as you search.  Yes, it is even okay to "Google-it" at this point--you want to take advantage of as many resources as possible.  For example:

Notice how Google even provides hints as you type in the term, and the bottom of the screen provides additional search possibilities:

Going back to our Google search, the first result is to a Wikipedia article.  While this isn't a source to cite in your academic paper, it is a great place to get started to find additional terms and some scholarly/research resources that you can use, so be sure to check out the "References" section:

In fact, the first reference in the article is to a peer-reviewed article in the open access journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS Med).  Also  note the PubMed identifier (PMID) that is provided at the end of the last line, clicking on this takes you to the PubMed abstract.

Time-Saving Tip before Searching:

  1. log in to the Libraries website before you begin searching; your login is the same one you use to access your My Mercer resources, doing this should allow you to complete your research without having to stop later to login with your MUID (Mercer University ID) or the GALILEO password


Where to Start:

Tarver Librarians have created Subject Librarian pages to assist you in selecting appropriate databases to find articles.  One of the best databases for comprehensive coverage on topics, including pro and con arguments, timelines, and bibliographies is:

CQ Researcher

  • each issue is on a single theme, includes 12,000-words, and is researched and written by a seasoned journalist
  • contents include an introductory overview, background and chronology on the topic, an assessment of the current situation, tables and maps, pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of key sources
  • provides an option for quick search, advanced search, or  browse by topics, including the option to refine/limit a search to "Health"
CQ Researcher


Here is an example of a quick search done on sleep deprivation and public health:

  • results are ranked according to a relevance score of 100 to 1
  • the 2010 report has a higher relevancy score than the 1998 one, since it is more current
  • clicking on the report will take you to the full issue


  • search navigation within the report is available on the left-hand side of the screen
  • option to download the PDF ,e-mail a link back to the full report or any of the parts, or print the full report or any of the parts
  • the top right-hand corner also includes a link to cite the report using a variety of style manuals and a link to export the citation into RefWorks
  • once you've installed Zotero, a book or page icon should appear in the address bar of your browser; just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation

Zotero - Saving from CQ Researcher

Finding (more) Articles:

Using the Global Health page, a general-purpose database to search is:

Academic Search Complete:

  • provides links to full text for over 3,200 scholarly journals and general magazines
  • provides abstracts and indexing for over 3,800 scholarly journals and general magazines
  • offers options for refining your search


This is an example of a "quick and dirty" search in Academic Search Complete that gives us more than we need--it will take a long time to go through 3,606 results.  Pay close attention to the left-hand side bar to reduce the number of hits and zero in on exactly what you want effects of sleep deprivation on health.  This is where you will reap the benefits of taking the time to come up with the lists of keywords/terms/limits that you created before you ever started searching.

For example, here's what we can do to reduce our results from 3,606:

    • 2,748 when refined to include only scholarly (peer-reviewed) articles
    • 1,385 when limited to include results that also include effects
    • 307 when further limited to include results that also include health
    • 282 when limited to articles written since 2000
    • 47 when further refined to public health

Tips and Tricks:

  • This isn't "rocket science," but it takes time.
  • Adding and removing terms, expanding and narrowing your date range, and using other options on the left-hand side of the screen will eventually return a manageable list of results.
  • Yes, sometimes you add too much and get zero results--so, go back and take out items until you get that manageable list.
  • You will also want to look at several articles as you go along to see what other terms you can add.
  • Yes, you can also restrict your search to "full-text," which means you won't have to go leave the computer to read, print, e-mail, or save the article.  While this might sound like a good idea, remember that not every article is available in a full-text version that is available to Mercer students.  You would not want to miss finding a key article that your professor would expect you to reference, just because you limited your search to full-text only.
  • Finally, don't forget the idea of "data mining."  When you find one article that is right on target, look at the bibliography--list of references that the author included.  The author has already done a similar search, so identify which of those articles might also be of interest to you.

Locating the Actual Articles:

Many of the databases include links to full-text of the actual articles. Follow the icons to find PDF or full-text"


No full text listed? There are other options for finding these articles, so don’t give up!

Find Electronic Journals

  • list of all electronic journals available to Mercer students
  • make sure you have the complete citation (title, volume, number, date, and page numbers) before searching
  • type in the journal title and click search
  • follow the links (journals often appear in more than one database) to identify full-text
  • if specific volume/year is not available online, click on the link to view print holdings of the title
  • can be a bit confusing at first, so don't hesitate to ask us if you have questions

Library Catalog

  • the library might have a subscription to a print copy of the journal
    * remember you can use the link to view print holdings of the titles without leaving the electronic journal finder
  • click on the option to search by journal title and type the journal name in the Journal Title browse box

Tips and Tricks:

  • journals are arranged alphabetically by title on the first floor of the Tarver Library
  • many of the journals are now available online, so be sure and check the Electronic Journal finder first
  • if a title is downstairs in print, remember to lift up the slanted shelf underneath the displayed copy to find other issues

Interlibrary Loan

  • if all else fails, we can order a copy of the article for you through Interlibrary Loan--this takes time (up to 2 weeks!), so don’t leave it to the last minute
  • the pre-populated form prepop.jpg in the database makes this a quicker process
  • we can also identify libraries who subscribe to the journal--road trip anyone?

Other Databases

This guide illustrates the use of two databases (CQ Researcher and Academic Search Complete) for your project.  Depending on your topic, you might find relevant articles in many of the other databases on the Global Health web page.  You might also try:

Don't Forget about Books!

  • The Tarver Library uses the Library of Congress classification system, so the print books on public health are going to be in the R's on the 3rd floor.
  • You can search the Library catalog by keyword, author, or title.  Remember, the catalog includes government documents, e-books, and print books that can be found in Macon (Tarver), Atlanta (Swilley), or the Regional Academic Center Libraries in Douglas County, Eastman, or Henry County.
    • You can choose to search all locations or only the ones here in Macon.
    • since Nursing and Pharmacy are offered on the Atlanta campus, the Swilley Library might have more books, and these can be requested to be sent to you here in Macon
  • You may also want to check out the holdings at the Medical School Library. This Library uses a different classification system, MESH, so you'll find the books on public health in the WA call number range.
    • Undergraduate students can check out books for one week, so you might want to plan ahead and check them out when you are ready to use them.
  • You can export items from the library catalog into RefWorks by following the steps on the RefWorks for GHS 200 guide; once you've installed Zotero, a book or page icon should appear in the address bar of your browser; just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation.


  • Of the 9 most relevant results for Tarver resources:  5 are for government or government-sponsored websites and 3 are for e-books.
  • Pay close attention to the location and the status lines when looking at the catalog record, since items could be in Atlanta or checked out.

    Ready, Set Go!

    This guide shows you how to use the Subject Librarian pages to find databases that lead to articles on your topic, tips for finding those non full-text articles, and how to use the library catalog to find e-books, books, and websites.  Now, it is up to you to settle on a topic and get started.  Don't hesitate to stop and ask for assistance along the way.  The links on the right side of this page allow you to ask us a question (IM, e-mail, or text) or to request that we spend some time one on one with you (or your group) on your topic.  Let us know how we can help you as you explore the wealth of health information resources available here at Tarver and throughout the Mercer University Libraries.