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NATS1560 - Understanding Food   Tags: c:all, c:sc/nats1560  

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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All I know is what's on the internet



  • What's out there
  • Peer review
  • Some examples to work through together
  • Some useful resources
  • Adademic integrity & good citation practice

Flow of Scientific Information

Flow of Scientific Information, University of Waterloo, 2007


Types of Documents

Patents: government granted license to an invention

Journals: Research results are presented in periodicals

  • Reference: encyclopedia, tables, data collections, properties
  • Manuals: lab methods, programming language, operating systems
  • Monographs: general topics

Conference proceedings: Research results presented at a meeting. Often peer-reviewed, but not always.

Technical specifications: how a device of component works i.e. circuit diagrams

Code library: database of source code listings or linkable subroutines

Peer Review

What is peer-reviewed?

    Peer-reviewed or refereed articles are articles that have gone through a vigorous process of approval by a panel of experts in that particular field before publication. Through this process of selection, the idea is that these articles are considered credible sources of information and the best in the field.       


How to identify a peer-reviewed article?

    To identify if an article is peer reviewed or referred you must check if the journal that the article is published in is peer-reviewed. The link provided demonstrates the steps neccessary to identify if a journal is peer reviewed by using Ulrich's International Periodical Directory.


Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

(h/t and a nice printable worksheet)


Scholarly vs. Popular Sources



(e.g. magazines, newspapers, etc...)


may contain selective advertising

will contain extensive advertising

Authors & Audience

written by and for academics or researchers

written by staff or freelance writers for a broad audience

Format & Graphics

may include graphs and charts;
seldom contain glossy pages or pictures

often slick and glossy;
will contain photographs, illustrations and/or drawings


may use discipline-specific language or jargon

uses everyday language that is accessible to the average reader


lengthy articles with in-depth coverage of topics

shorter articles: usually provide broad overview of topics


generally published by a professional organization

published for profit


to inform, report, or make available
original research to the scholarly world

to entertain, inform, or persuade


footnotes and/or bibliographies

rarely cite any sources


Testing Testing Testing


  • York University Library Catalogue
    Contains YUL's book, ebook, and journal holdings.
  • Toronto Public Library
    Additional books are available through your local public library, especially popular sources like cookbooks.
  • Google Books
    The full text of many books is searchable through Google Books. Look up a book here to see if it is worth borrowing or tracking down.

Article Databases

  • Scholars Portal
    This resource consists of a single search screen that provides access to multiple databases for searching literature in a variety of disciplines. Choose a subject area or select specific databases to conduct a search.
    Used by millions for research, teaching, and learning. With more than a thousand academic journals and over one million images, letters, and other primary documents, JSTOR is a trusted sources for academic content. Allows you to search within the full text of articles, making it a good place to find mentions of obscure topics.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    An important database for sociology, anthropology, women's studies and sexuality studies.
  • Historical Abstracts
    Provides access primarily to article citations convering all aspects of world history EXCLUDING North America from 1450 until the present. Also includes some citations to books, chatpers in book, and dissertations.
  • Social Science Abstracts
    Indexes journals from a wide variety of social science disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. These fields include psychology, sociology, urban studies, etc. Emphasis is on the United States with some international coverage. Coverage is from 1994 - present
  • Humanities International Index
    Covers over 1000 journals published from 1975 to the present, including many smaller journals and publications unavailable in other reference sources. Provides cover-to-cover indexing and abstracting of on-going journal content, including coverage of all original creative works, such as poetry and fiction.
  • Project Muse
    Project Muse provides full access to more than 400 peer-reviewed journals published in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch
    A full text database of over 200 newspapers, magazines and journals from First Nations, ethnic and racialized communities. Articles present in-depth coverage of news, culture, and history from a broad diversity of perspectives and viewpoints. Coverage is from 1991 - present.
  • Periodicals Archive Online
    Full access to approximately 500 periodicals mostly published in the US and UK. Also includes 65 foreign-language titles.
  • Canadian Newsstand  Icon
    A searchable full-text database of major Canadian daily newspapers. Major titles include Calgary Herald (1988-), Edmonton Journal (1989-), Halifax Daily News (1990-), Montreal Gazette (1985-), National Post (1998-), Ottawa Citizen (1985-), Toronto Star (1985-), Vancouver Sun (1987-)
  • Lexis Nexis Academic  Icon  Icon  Icon
    Provides access to documents and records from more than 45,000 legal, news and business sources. Includes comprehensive company and industry reports, patent details, merger and acquisition analysis, bankruptcies, spin-offs SEC filings etc.

Academic Integrity & Citation Style Guides

Journals about Food Culture

Related Subject Guides

For more help, visit a related subject guide.

Citation Management

Use one of these citation managers to help you organize your sources. They're both free!


RACER Interlibrary Loan

Need a book or article that's not in our catalogue? Use RACER (our interlibrary loan system) to borrow it from another university library.


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