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PSYCH 301: Basic Research Methods in Psychology

This course guide is for the students in the PSYCH 301 course at Behrend.

Search Strategies

Some of the best strategies for finding relevant results in a databases:

  • Search for just a few key words or phrases related to your topic. Look for two or more of the following.
    • Population (e.g. college students, adolescents, etc.)
    • Problem (e.g. depression, confirmation bias, etc.)
    • Intervention (e.g. extrinsic reinforcement)
    • Outcome (e.g. higher levels of confidence--search for the word, confidence)
    • Context (e.g. college campus,  social network sites, etc.)
  • Search in the abstracts for keywords.
    • Chances are, if a word or phrase is mentioned in the abstract, it is an important part of the whole article.
    • Before you click "Search," most databases allow you to select "Abstract."
  • Sort the list of results by relevance.
    • Look for one highly relevant, high quality article to begin with.
  • Look in the "References" section, and click on the "Cited By" link.
    • The "References" section will list very relevant sources on your topic. Search for the titles of these articles in LionSearch or Google Scholar.
    • Many databases and Google Scholar have "Cited By" links. This link shows you who cited this article. That's why starting with one really strong article will help you find many more sources very quickly.

Finding Articles