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PSYC 178: Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology (Bhagwat): Search Strategies

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Search Strategies

Search Strategies

Searching databases for journal articles is a bit more challenging than using tools such as Google or Bing. The good news is that you have a lot more control over how you design the search. This also means you should get better, more targeted results.

  • Before you start your research, try focusing your topic by writing a one sentence research question.
    For example: How do moods affect a person's ability to make financial decisions?
  • Identify the main ideas in your research question.
    • moods
    • decision making
    • finances
  • Boil the statement down to keywords, or the most important elements of your issue.
    EX: moods; emotional states; affective disorders; decision making; judgment; money; finances
  • Use an asterisk to find variations of a word.
    EX: mood* will find mood, moods, moodiness
  • Then, separate the keywords with the "and" and "or" connectors
    EX: (mood* or emotion* or affective) and (decision* or judgment) and (mone* or financ*)

The above search strategy in the PsycINFO database will look like this. Note that I changed "Select a Field" to "SU Subjects" so only the index terms for this article are searched.

This search retrieved 98 peer-reviewed citations.

NOTE: If you are not sure about what terms to use, the PsycINFO Thesaurus is extremely helpful. It is located in the blue bar at the top of the page.

Last Revised on January 4, 2022

Social Sciences and Government Information Librarian