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Public Health Research Experiences

Resources and tools for students preparing to write about their research. Get help finding and managing all of the sources you use in your paper.


Thinking about these questions can help you identify a topic that has meaning to you.

  • Who are you? 
  • What health experiences have you or your loved ones experienced?
  • Where have you worked and what did you do there? What health topics connect to that work?
  • Who inspires you? What do they do?
  • What health topics have you read or heard about recently?

Explore the Data

Consider the data that is available to you. You may already have a dataset. Some datasets are provided in Blackboard. You may be able to find other datasets online.

Explore Your Topic Using Scopus

Now that you know more about Scopus, use it to find out more about the topic you chose.

  1. Search for whatever you wanted to research on your topic. 
  2. Open the keywords section of the "Refine Results" column and skim through the list of keywords.
  3. (Optional) select a few keywords to either include (Limit to) or exclude.
  4. Skim through your results and find one article that seems interesting.
  5. Click on the title of the article.
  6. Check for “Cited by” and “Related” suggestions. Click on one of those suggestions. If there aren't any "Cited by" or "Related" suggestions, click on one of the articles in the References section. 

  7. Write down the article you clicked on.

  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 two to five times.

  9. Use the Get Full Text (MCPHS) link to see if we have the full-text of any of the articles you have chosen. 

  10. Read the discussion (& limitations) section of that article. (If it does not make sense to you, read the introduction and the methods, then re-read the discussion section.) 

  11. What did you learn? What ideas have these authors given you? Write down your answers.

Build on Others' Work

  • The discussion section of a paper usually includes notes about the limitations of the study and ideas for further research. Consider if anything the authors identify interests you.
  • Use an existing study as a model but change it slightly. Use a different population, method, or outcome. For example, if one study used people in urban settings, study people in rural settings. 
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