Skip to Main Content

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.

Key database

Additional resources

See also our guide to finding statistics:

Accessing online Library resources

If you are on campus you will be able to access most e-journals and e-books, and some databases, without entering a username and password because your IP address identifies you as being at the University of Reading.

For any that require a login, see the Off-campus tab.

Terms of Use

When you use our e-resources you are agreeing to our Terms of Use. Please take a moment to look at these by following the link below:

When you are off-campus you will need to login to identify yourself as a member of the University of Reading to gain access to our protected databases, e-books and e-journals. 

Your login details

You login in the same way as for Blackboard - via Microsoft. Just enter your University username followed by (e.g. and your password. If this is the first time you have logged in via this method when off-campus you will be asked to complete a Multi-Factor Authentication. For more information see:

Getting to the login page...

  • For most resources, if you follow a link from our website or catalogues your login will be picked up automatically or you will be prompted to login straightaway. 
  • If you access resources via another route you will need to look for a login option once you reach the resource you are trying to access. Look for an institutional or shibboleth login option and pick 'University of Reading' from a list of institutions. This will then pick up your login or prompt you to login. For more information about institutional login, please see the link below:
Logging in to Library resources

Watch this short video on how you login to use Library resources.

If you are unable to view this video on YouTube it is also available on YuJa - view the Logging in to the Library video on YuJa (University username and password required)

Inter-library loans

The ILL service can obtain a wide range of academic books, journals, and conference proceedings. Because of the costs involved it is meant only for material which is essential to your studies or research.

For more information see our Inter-Library Loans webpages:

Videos: discovering online articles and chapters with Summon

If you are unable to view these videos on YouTube they are also available on YuJa:

Literature searching guidance

This series of three videos (available via the tabs in this box) cover:

  • What is a literature search, including tips on getting started
  • Analysing your topic and search techniques for creating a comprehensive search
  • Evaluating and summarising the literature

You will need to login using your University email address and password to view the videos.

This video covers:

  • analysing your topic
  • search techniques for creating a comprehensive search (using AND/OR, truncation and wildcards)
  • an example search on Web of Science

This video covers:

  • evaluating journals (peer review)
  • evaluating articles (citation counts and altmetrics)
  • critical reading
  • using tables to help summarise literature
  • referencing and reference management using EndNote (brief summary)

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

This video was created by IFIS (International Food Information Service) showing how to do a basic search on their FSTA database on the Web of Science.

There's also a PDF guide explaining how to use the thesaurus to select your search words:

IFIS have also produced a best practice guide for literature searching:

Contact me for 1-1 help with your literature search

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

Email me, or make an appointment using the buttons above. Appointments can be in person or online via MS Teams.

In term-time I also hold a weekly drop-in for quick queries on Tuesdays 13:00-14:00. See the drop-in box on this page for more detail.

Library and ASK drop-in

Question marks

Got a question about the Library, finding information, referencing, literature searching or using EndNote/Mendeley? Or about study skills such as writing assignments/lab reports, time management, using references in your work or preparing for exams?

Then come along to the Library and ASK drop-in for Food and Nutritional Sciences. Your librarian and ASK Adviser will be on hand to discuss your question.

When? Tuesdays 13:00-14:00 term-time only

Where? Harry Nursten Building Room 2-64 (the PC Lab at the back of the 2nd Floor)

If you would like to meet with your Librarian online please make an appointment at another time using the link on my contact page: