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Division of HHS: Dental Health Programs: Hygiene Capstone Project

Research and Resource Connections for Dental Health Courses

Hygiene Capstone Project

This capstone project is designed to provide the student with an opportunity to apply their knowledge of concepts and skills through an individually designed project.  Students will execute the project through the development and implementation of a patient treatment plan that culminates in a final paper and presentation on the specific "Periodontal Type II" or greater case identified. 

Keys to Finding Research

Some Basics of Searching for Research:

1.) In any search bar start with the whole of your research topic. For example: If the topic of the paper is "Periodontal Attachment Loss in Diabetic Patients" and you only search "Attachment Loss," you will get articles and information that do not apply to the topic.  Start with the whole topic and see what comes up.  

2.) Refining the results:

        2a.) TOO MUCH- If you are getting too many articles, try putting quotes around key search terms "Attachment Loss" "Diabetic Patients."  This will limit the search to articles where those terms appear beside each other in context.

        2b.) NOT ENOUGH- Break down the topic into variations. "Diabetes and Dental Care," "Attachment Loss in Dental Care," "Periodontal Care and Diabetes"  

3.) Don't stop at the required number of sources!  Although the requirement says you need three additional resources, always find a few more than required.  Just because you have them, doesn't mean you have to use them.  It is better to have choices when writing a paper than trying to force a paper from limited options.

4.) READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE (Or at the very least 1st Paragraph, a Middle Paragraph, and the Last paragraph)!!!  Your search engine may pull up an article that has your search terms in the article, but that does not always mean the article actually speaks to your topic.  Be sure that the entirety of the source supports your topic, not just a single sentence.

Link to APA Libguide

Guide Video

Plagiarism: What it is and how to avoid it

Recommended Research Sites

Even if you are researching from home there are resources that can be accessed from the Online Library Catalog.  There are several eBooks and eVideos on the topic options for your research paper.  Click the link below, use the login information listed, search for your topic area.  Pay attention to "format" information if you want only online material.


-For general knowledge of conditions or disorders the "Gale Health Reference Collection" is recommended for starting your research. 

-For research studies, journal articles, and similar academic based materials on your topics go to "Health Source Academic & Nursing;"  "ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health;" or "Medline" 

-For some topics these databases will be of value: "Alternative HealthWatch;"  "Consumer Health Complete;" "Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection"

-Remember to only use FULL-TEXT articles.  Never use "Abstracts" as primary research.  


The following databases also provide various articles that may be helpful in your research process.  Remember to consider only FULL-TEXT articles available, the date the article was published, and whether it is research- opinion- or promotion based information before using. Not all articles will be available for free through these databases.  In many cases, just like with Google Searches, you will be able to access the abstract but not a full-text article.  However, if you get the name of an article you are interested in- you might search it in the databases listed above- it might be available.

Q: What does "Scholarly Article" or "Peer-Reviewed Article" Mean?

Coulter, P. (2016). Richard G. Trefry library: American public University System. Libanswers.

"Scholarly" and "peer reviewed" are often used synonymously, but they are not necessarily the same thing.   Peer reviewed articles are always scholarly, but not all scholarly sources are peer reviewed.   It may seem confusing, but it makes more sense if you think of "scholarly" as an umbrella term for several different kinds of authoritative, credible sourcesThese include:

  • Peer reviewed journals.  These journals primarily exist to publish the research findings of experts in a field. The articles that you see in these journals have been closely scrutinized by a panel of reviewers (also experts in the same field) before they are published.   
  • Trade or professional journals or magazines.  The articles in these periodicals are also written by and for experts, but there is no peer review.  The articles aren't limited to research...they may be news, best practice tips or opinion pieces. 
  • Government Publications  Many government agencies publish books, reports, data or statistics.  Government researchers, like those who publish in peer reviewed or trade journals, are often experts in their field.
  • Books.   Many researchers publish books or book chapters.  

How can you tell if an article is scholarly?  You will have to do some detective-work, but there are some telltale signs:

  • Author(s): Ideally, you should rely on information that has been published by an expert, someone who has studied the topic long and hard.    Most scholarly publications will list an author's credentials (their degrees -- M.S., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc. -  and the institution that they work for) along with his or her name.
  • Content:  Look for articles that cover a topic in detail (more than just a few pages long, typically).   It will probably include some kind of literature review, and discuss the work of other authors, in addition to any original research findings.  Make sure it cites its sources (a scholarly article will always have a "references," "bibliography" or "works cited" list). 
  • Audience:  Scholarly articles are written for professionals in the field.  You will probably notice a lot of technical language and/or discipline-specific jargon.  The tone will be formal.
  • Publisher.  Visit the journal's website to see what organization publishes it.  Professional associations, universities and government agencies are particularly good signs.  As you become more experienced, you'll also start to recognize major publishing companies in your field of study (Wiley, Elsevier, Sage, etc.).
  • Purpose and scope.  When you're on the journal's website, look for an "about" link to learn who the intended audience is and what kind of articles are accepted.
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