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Exercise & Sport Science Research Guide

Starting points for research in sports and exercise science


Use multiple databases/search engines.  There will be overlap in what you find, but each will have something unique.   The following should be helpful for most if not all searches.

MEDLINE ( not necessarily the same database as PubMed, PubMed contains more articles than MEDLINE)

Extrapolation is key.  Keep in mind that you may have to pull pieces of information from various articles to make your point.  You may not – probably won’t – find the perfect article that sums up your position.  (If you do find that perfect article, it actually means that you should pick another topic as someone has beaten you to the idea!)

Take notes as you go.  It’s really hard to find or document things after the fact.  (I’ve found this out the hard way!)  So tract where you search, the terms you use, and the citations you find as you go.  Paper or online doesn’t matter.  Just track it.  Zotero can help with tracking your citations. 

Also, if an article looks *remotely* useful, make note of it.  It’s always easier to cross it off later than try to find it again.  (Sometimes you can’t find it again.  I’ve learned that the hard way too.)

Other Search Strategies

Common database searching strategies:




(asterisk, *)

Enter The ROOT of a search term and replace the ending with the asterisk symbol (*)

pediat* Retrieves pediatrics, pediatric, pediatra, etc.

Phrase searching (double quotes)

Use quotation marks when searching for phrases.

“athletic training” Retrieves these terms in the exact order.