Psychology Search Tips
Power search features for most article databases:
- Use synonyms -- there are many ways to express a concept (teenager or teen or adolescent)
- Use truncation, with the use of an asterisk (*), to get different forms of the word, for example teenage* will retrieve teenagers, teenager, teenaged, etc.
- Plural and singular forms of a keyword can produce different results.
- Use quotation marks when you want an "exact phrase." Some search engines also accept parentheses ( ) to isolate an "exact phrase."
- Use other limiters such as "date" -- most will let you find results for a certain time period.
In PsycInfo, the Thesaurus is a very powerful tool. It helps you identify articles that are about a topic, not just that have the word in the abstract. For example, if you are looking for the cause of a certain psychological problem, the descriptor "etiology" finds material that looks at causality. The Thesaurus also helps you identify the "official" term for a particular psychological disorder, such as "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" for "ADHD" or "ADD."
Other search engine features in PsycInfo are also helpful. Here are some suggestions:
- Use the special "limits" or "fields" that the database offers. They really do help you make a more focused and powerful search. PsycInfo lets you use many helpful limits including:
- Methodology-- are you interested in literature reviews? Empirical studies? Clinical trials? Quantitative or qualitative studies?
- Population -- do you want research based on humans? Males vs. females?
- Age of subjects -- adolescents? children? old people?
- Publication type -- do you want articles? dissertations? books?
In PubMed, use the MESH (Medical Subject Headings) thesaurus to:
- Identify the official medical term for a disease or medical issue.
- Find broader, narrower, or similar terms.
Last Update: November 21, 2013 09:26