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Health Care Assistant

This guide will help students with Health Care Assistant research in the OC Library collection and on the Internet.

Articles recommended by your instructors

What is a Scholarly Journal?

A scholarly journal (also called academic journals, scientific journals, or peer reviewed journals) is a periodical that publishes articles written by experts in a particular field of study. Journals are similar magazines except the articles are written by researchers. Journals and magazines are considered periodicals because they are published continuously over time. The articles are written for experts or students of the field, and use academic or technical language. "Peer-reviewed (also called refereed) journals have an editorial board of subject experts who review and evaluate submitted articles before accepting them for publication. A journal may be a scholarly journal but not a peer-reviewed journal." [1]

Image of three academic journals

Databases provide access to articles that are unavailable on the open Internet. Article databases contain both popular & scholarly articles, and they are used to find journal, magazine and newspaper articles. Although they deliver content online, the content is paid for through library subscriptions. Some databases only include descriptions (citations and/or abstracts) of articles with "Where can I get this?" links, whereas other databases contain links to the full text of the article. 

Strategies for finding articles in the Library:

  • Use OCtopus for a 'Google-like' experience
  • Use a specific database, such as Academic Search Premier, that will only contain information related to your subject area.
  • Search within a relevant journal. For example, if you want Canadian sources, searching within a Canadian journal would help focus a search.

TIP: When you find a journal article that is relevant to your research/writing, check the reference list to find similar articles.

Parts of an Academic Research Article

Research articles tend to have 6 or 7 parts, each part is normally labeled.

  • Abstract: This first part of the article, normally at the top and set apart from the rest of the article. The abstract describes what the article is about. 
  • Introduction:The first part of the actual text, it explains why the researchers selected the topic to study and why it is important.
  • Literature Review: In this section the authors discuss research that is important to their study, this section can be long or short. Sometimes the introduction and literature review sections are combined.
  • Methods & Data Analysis: The methods portion of the article explains how the researchers actually conducted the research. Often it will include information on the participants and data collection methods used. They will also explain how the data was analyzed. This section may also include limitations of the research.
  • Results: This is where the authors tell you what they found.
  • Discussion: Here the authors discuss how their findings (results) tie back into the other research done in the field and why what they found is important. They may also give ideas for further research.
  • References: This sections includes all the references to items cited within the body of the article.

Why should I use databases rather than a search engine like Google?

The open Internet only holds a small percentage of the information stored online. Using Library sources gives you access to private information, such as:

  • Book content
  • Original, primary, and historical documents
  • Subscribed content
  • Copyright protected material

Advantages to searching within databases as a research strategy: 

  • Databases are often limited by academic discipline, which may give you fewer, but more relevant, results.
  • Databases are highly structured, which means you can perform complex searches using controlled vocabulary.

TIP: Searching databases with the keywords recommended in this research guide is a good starting strategy. However, be aware that some databases may use different terminology. When you find a relevant article, check the subject headings and article description for terminology that could be useful in a new keyword search.

Journals (Scholarly/Academic/Peer-Reviewed)

  • Value & Use: Reports of original research (theoretical, experimental or applied) with in-depth analysis of subject
  • Authorship: Scholars, academics, researchers - Names, credentials, and contact information provided.
  • Sources: All sources cited in bibliographies, footnotes etc.

Magazines (Popular)

  • Value & Use: General information on current topics, commentary on political and social issues, entertainment
  • Authorship: Wide variety including specialists, journalists, staff and freelance writers, name and credentials sometimes provided. 
  • Source: Original sources usually obscure, no citations given.

Professional, Trade, & Industry Magazines

  • Value & Use: Current trends, theoretical & ethical issues, news & events in particular field, industry or profession - Often contain product, company & biographical information.
  • Practitioners or journalists with subject expertise
  • Sources: Sources often cited but not always in full


  • Value & Use: Local and regional focus on current events and news often with some analysis and opinion.
  • Authorship: Journalists (name sometimes given, rarely with credentials)
  • Sources: Sometimes cited but rarely in full


About Peer Review

Peer-reviewed publications contain articles that may not be peer-reviewed, as well as content that is peer-reviewed. Content in these journals may include: 

  • Literature Reviews
  • Columns (often opinion pieces)
  • News
  • Book Reviews
  • Annotated bibliographies -  A list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph, which is the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
  • Literary Reviews
  • Obituaries

About OCtopus

About OCtopus

OCtopus is the Library's search engine. It is similar to Google but requires more attention to your search terms, filters, and overall search strategy. Most of the content in OCtopus is considered 'academic' but results also include popular content such as articles from magazines and newspapers.

Consider using a tool like OCtopus, similar to how you would shop for something online. For example, if trying to buy a pair of pants from an online clothing store you might narrow your search to jeans, you might add the size, perhaps a particular colour of denim, whether they are a particular style or cut, etc. This will narrow your results to all the options that fit your need. 

Parts of OCtopus

  1. Advanced Search: use to add more fields to your search; this will help you keep your different concepts straight
  2. Research Starters: these built-in encyclopedia articles will give a brief overview of broad topics
  3. Click here to have a quick preview of the article or book you want to look at
  4. Change the publication date of items you see with this slider: very helpful for gathering recent information!
  5. Check off "News" to see only newspaper articles: try the different resource types as well!
  6. More filters are below if you scroll down
  7. The method to access the item will always be in the top left, whether it is a PDF, "Full-text finder," or "Retrieve Catalogue Item"
  8. Keep track of this information: you will need it for citations!
  9. Abstract: this is a summary of what the article is about
  10. DOI: a digital object identifier is a unique string of numbers to help people find articles. You will need it for citations!
  11. Cite button: use with caution! Check citation against Library Citation Style guides
  12. Permalink: click here to get a stable URL to the item: the URL in the bar at the top of the page will not work later

Key Journals + Magazines

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