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Doing Research in Health & Fitness for PED Classes

Step 1: Selecting a topic

This is sometimes the hardest step when doing research and writing a paper. Think about an area you would like to write about. Papers are more meaningful when you are interested in the topic or have a personal connection to them.

Once you have a broad area, think about the specific aspects that might be of interest. Depending on the length of your paper, you will probably have to narrow your topic down so it is manageable in 5 pages or so.

Step 2: Identifying your search terms (keywords)

Brainstorm on the words that describe your topic. For example, if my topic was: weight training. I can think of several other terms that describe that topic: weightlifting, body building, circuit training, etc.

Then think about the different aspects of that topic you may wish to explore: programs, diet, injuries, cardiovascular benefits, benefits for fitness, etc.

Use these terms to create your searches.

Step 3: Where to look for information

The Library and the World Wide Web are the two main sources of information today.

Library Resources

A good place to begin your research is with reference books & encyclopedias so you can get an overview of your topic. Stop at the Library Reference Desk and consult with a librarian about relevant reference sources for your topic.

Search Library periodical databases - From the Library's Web page you have access to many periodical databases from both on and off campus. Navigate to the Sealy Library home page at: http://www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu (to access resources from off campus, you must have a John Jay Email account). Use the Shortcuts box to select a database.

Suggested periodical databases for PED:

EbscoHost Academic Search Premier - magazine & journals articles on all topics, many full text. Best database to start with.

InfoTrac Health Reference Center - articles, reference books & pamphlets - look at first few results for excerpts from reference books and pamphlets.

Resources on the World Wide Web

There is a large amount of excellent consumer health information available on the Web from reliable sources that would be helpful for your research. The sites below are suggested sources to begin with.

Healthfinder - site from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides an easy-to-use, searchable index of carefully reviewed, reliable health information from over 1,700 government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and universities. http://www.healthfinder.gov

MEDLINEplus - developed by U.S. National Library of Medicine & U.S. National Institutes of Health, it has extensive information on over 600 diseases and conditions, a medical encyclopedia, a medical dictionary, health information in Spanish, & extensive information on prescription & non-prescription drugs. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

NOAH (New York Online Access to Health) - a bilingual (Spanish) Web site created by CUNY, in conjunction with the New York Public Library and the New York Academy of Medicine. This site provides well-organized access to high quality health information. http://www.noah-health.org/

MayoClinic.com - Mayo clinic's outstanding medical staff provide extensive information about healthy living including nutrition, exercise, & prevention in addition to disease-specific material. http://www.MayoClinic.com

Step 4: Searching

Create your searches using the terms you have identified in step 2. In Library periodical databases, combine your search terms using the word and between terms.

For example: weight training and fitness heart disease and cholesterol

Step 5: Evaluate your results

Is your information reliable? Who is responsible for the information - author? sponsoring organization? Is information current?

Evaluate information found on the Web very carefully!!


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