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Psychology: Research Tips

Search Strategies

How Search Strategies Work 

 

Search Strategy

What it does

Example

AND

(Boolean Operator)

All terms must appear

Narrows your search

Fewer results

Use to include multiple unique concepts

“coffee AND Brazil” searches for all articles that include both terms, coffee and Brazil

OR

(Boolean Operator)

Either term may appear

Broadens your search

More results

Use for related concepts

“coffee OR caffeine” searches for either term in the articles

NOT

(Boolean Operator)

Removes a term from your search

Narrows your search

Fewer results

Use for concepts you do not want to include

“South America NOT Brazil” searches for articles on South America and removes articles with the word Brazil in them

Phrases

Search for exact phrases

Narrows your search

Fewer results

“ecological tourism” searches for that phrase in that particular order

Truncation

Searches for all forms of a word

Broadens your search

More results

Use to search for the root word of a concept

Add an asterisk * to the root or stem of a word

A search for “tour*” will look for tour, tourism, tourist

 

Using Boolean Operators

 

Using Limits in Your Search

What are limits and why use them?

Limits are helpful in focusing your search.  Once you've done your initial search you can use some limits to help you narrow your results to a more manageable amount of information.

  • Date:  limit results to a specific time frame
  • Peer review:  limit to only peer-reviewed articles
  • Full text:  find only the articles available in full text  **TIP:  you can request an article that isn't available through Interlibrary Loan
  • Publication type:  limit results to meta analysis, reviews, systematic reviews, research articles, and evidence based practice.

Why Dictionaries?

Using dictionaries in your research can help you discover the meaning of specialized and technical language used in a field.

Here are some specialized psychology dictionaries available through Alvernia's Library that can aid you in your research.

Why Encyclopedias?

Using encyclopedias in your research can help you to get background information on your topic, aid you in identifying key terms used in the field, and lead you to additional sources.

Here are some specialized psychology encyclopedias available through Alvernia's Library that can aid you in your research.

Subject Terms

Don't know where to begin your research?  Below is a list of psychology subject terms.  Considering these terms can help you develop a topic or focus your search

Click on one of the links to browse available resources on each subject.