Psychology: Get Better Results

This guide will help you get started with your psychology research. In addition to recommending useful databases, this guide provides information on finding and accessing tests and measures, and other helpful tips to guide you along the way.

Quick Tips for Research

Construct a successful search

  1. Search terms that represent different aspects of your topic (e.g. "attachment theory" and infants) should be entered into different search boxes when available.  Otherwise, these terms can be combined using the word AND (e.g. "attachment theory" AND infants).
  2. Search terms that are synonyms or related terms (e.g. anxiety or worry) should be entered into the same search box and combined using the word OR (e.g. anxiety OR worry).  If multiple search boxes are not available, group related terms in parentheses and combine with the word OR.

Single search box example:

Multiple search box example:

Find more relevant results

Proximity searching  allows you to find results where your search terms appear close to one another (e.g. three words apart).  The premise is that if your terms appear close together, the words are probably being discussed in the same context.  Use proximity searching when you are getting too many results, especially ones that use your search terms, but not together.

Unfortunately there is not a universal way to construct a proximity search.  Consult a database's "Help" menu to find out how to use this method in that specific database. Here are the formats for the databases listed on this guide:

Note: The number 3 is used as an example and can be replaced by any number. You might try 3 then 10 then 15 then 25.

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