This subject area is split into four topics:
The leading database in the field of sports information is an international database, SPORTDiscus. Dating back to 1988, it covers all aspects of sports science, including sports medicine, biomechanics and exercise physiology and includes 400 full text journals. For a more clinical perspective, another useful database is PubMed. This is freely available over the internet. With references from over 3200 medical journals, it provides coverage from the mid 1960s onwards. Some are available in full text. The Web of Knowledge database may also provide relevant articles from the 4600 core journals indexed in the science and social science fields.
Many of the major sporting associations, including the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, now have sites on the internet. Sportscience is a peer reviewed site that provides current news and comment, articles on the medical aspects of sport and performance and links to other relevant sites.
Following the closure of the National Sports Medicine Institute's (NSMI) library in 2003, there is no longer a national collection of sports medicine journals, which is easily accessible. However, researchers can make use of the SCONUL Access scheme, which allows access to a wealth of libraries nationwide.
There is no single correct search strategy. The following is a worked example from the Sports Science subject area using SportDiscus. Researchers in this field will also find PubMed useful because it has a more medical emphasis.
Title of research project: An investigation into the risks associated with participation in contact sports by people with epilepsy.
Keywords: Epilepsy, contact sport
Broader terms: Sport, physical activity
Synonyms: Seizure disorders (US Term)
Searching for this alone finds about 200 items. Try focussing the search by adding additional keywords
- epilepsy and contact sports
Two keywords or phrases using the Boolean AND connector to search for both words or phrases. This search finds about 10 items. We need to broaden the search to find more references in this subject area
- epilepsy and sport
Using the broader term finds about 100 references.
- (epilepsy OR seizure disorders) AND sport
Synonyms are linked with the Boolean OR connector to pick up any articles that use the alternative term. Only a few more references are found
- exercise AND (epilepsy OR seizure disorders)
Exercise is a broader term. This search finds about 50 references. Is there any overlap between the results of this and search 4?
Exercise and Sport are not exact synonyms so try
- (exercise OR sport) AND (epilepsy OR seizure disorders)
This finds about 150 references.
- physical activity AND (epilepsy or seizure disorders)
Although physical activity is a broader term than sport or exercise, this search only finds about 10 references. This reflects the language used in the literature but you may want to include these to ensure completeness.
Using the research proposal, The effects of high altitude training for competitions held at low altitudes, and the SPORTDiscus database, develop your own search strategy. The aim is to find highly relevant references but not so few that you may have missed important articles. You will need to log into the database using your ATHENS password first.
Keywords: High altitude, training, low altitude, performance
Narrower terms: endurance training
- high altitude AND training
Finds about 160 references. Compare this to searching for the phrase
- high altitude training
Searching for this phrase finds about 90 references, are they more relevant?
- high altitude training AND performance
Narrowing the search by using a phrase and keywords connected with the Boolean AND. Finds about 50 references
- high altitude training AND performance AND competition
Narrows the search further and only finds a handful of references so this is probably too narrow. The identified synonyms and alternative terms have not been used. Compare the results you get using them. Look at the references to assess the relevance of the results of each search. Consider using the more scientific Web of Knowledge database as well.
Consider the research proposal, An investigation into the effectiveness of random drugs testing in international athletics, and using the Nexis database, develop your own search strategy. Try restricting search to various parts of the record, wildcards, truncation, date searching. The aim is to find highly relevant references but not so few that you may have missed important articles. You will need to log into the database using your ATHENS password first.
Suggested search strategy
Keywords: random drug testing, athletics,
Nexis is a database that searches for articles in newspapers and journals. Select the All News in English option.
- random drugs testing
This phrase search finds so many articles that the database will not display them. Try narrowing the search by adding another keyword and restricting the search to major stories. You could use indexing to see if there is a preferred term but in this case the term is drug testing which is a wider term
- random drugs testing AND athletics
Finds 544 references
- Nexis automatically searches for plurals - drug or drugs - but using the truncation symbol (!) will search for athlete, athletes, athletics, etc.
random drugs testing AND athlet! AND effect!
finds about 200 articles
- Try using proximity (w/ number of words) to increase relevance
random drugs testing AND (athlet! w/5 international)
finds 36 items
- More information about this subject may be found on the internet.
Try the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency