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Food and nutritional sciences research project guidance: Doing your literature search

Resources and links to guide you through your research project.

The aim of your literature search is to find relevant publications to enable you to gain an understanding of the area you are working in, and to identify a knowledge gap which your project can address. You should concentrate on finding peer-reviewed journal articles, but these can be supplemented with information from books. Websites should be used with caution. All the literature you use should be cited and referenced following the guidance given on the 'Citing references' page in this guide:

Doing a literature-based project?

If you are doing a literature-based project then constructing your literature search (choice of search words, search strategy and selection of appropriate databases) will be a key part of your project and you should include this in the methodology section of your report. See the page on doing a systematic literature search for more guidance:

What are journal articles and how do I find them?

Journal articles are usually short papers on specific topics. They are published in issues or parts of journals (also called periodicals) which appear regularly. Use articles to find:

  • up-to-date research in your subject
  • reviews of developments in your subject - these review articles include extensive lists of references
Finding journal articles

You can find journal articles via our Summon discovery service or online databases.

Search Summon

Search the Summon discovery service using the box below to find full-text journal articles available via the Library. Search using topic words or use it to find out if we have access to a specific article by searching for the article title.

Search databases covering your subject

You should also search relevant databases to widen your search. See the lists below of key and additional databases. They will give you references to journal articles and other publications - they may also give you the full-text of the article. They are not limited to the Library's journal subscriptions, so you may need to use the inter-library loans service to get hold of some articles.

If you are doing a lab-based project your should at least search Web of Science. If you are doing a literature-based project you will need to search all which are relevant to your topic.  

Key databases

Specialist databases for specific topic areas or types of information

Resources for finding articles on business and marketing

Market research (UK)

These resources cover UK market information only.

Market research (global)

Company info

Key database

Additional resources


THE portal for sources of food law compiled by Dr David Jukes from the University of Reading. Includes links to the main sources of legislation and key legal topics including additives, flavourings and labelling.

UK legislation

LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK provide the text of Acts and Statutory Instruments in force. The UK's Government's official website provides free access to original and revised versions of legislation, but this is not as up-to-date as LexisLibrary and Westlaw UK.

Legislation from other countries

This can be harder to find. The following are useful portals.

For more detailed information on finding legislation consult the Law guide:

Key database

Additional resources

See also our guide to finding statistics:

Getting items not held at Reading

Map of the south of the UKOur Inter-Library Loans service can get articles, books and other publications not held at Reading from other libraries (usually from the British Library).

For more information see our webpages:

Doing a literature search

This playlist shows you how to prepare for and perform a literature search. The first video introduces literature searches and their role. The second video covers using the search operators AND and OR to create a search statement, and explains the role of wildcards and truncation in constructing a comprehensive search. This information is also available in written guides - see the links below. 

If you are unable to view these videos on YouTube they are also available on YuJa or Stream (University username and password required):

Planning your own search

Use the template below to help plan out your own literature search - identifying keywords and synonyms. There's also an example to help guide you and an example of adapting a search for different databases.

Related guides

Tips on literature searching from IFIS (International Food Information Service)

The Food Science and Technology Abstracts database (FSTA) is produced by IFIS (International Food Information Service). They have produced a range of support materials to help you make the most of this valuable resource for research in food and nutrition.

Contact me for 1-1 help with your literature search

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Jackie Skinner
Book an appointment
Please contact me if you have a query about literature searching, accessing resources, referencing or using EndNote/Mendeley.

Use the buttons above to email me or make an appointment (in person or online).
Quick query in term-time? Come along to my weekly drop-in on Tuesdays 13:00-14:00 in Harry Nursten Room 2-64. I am also usually on the Study Advice and Academic Liaison Desk on the Ground Floor of the Library on Tuesdays 11:00-12:00.