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Psychology 15 (Liu): Search Strategies

Research Methods in Psychology

1) AND/OR (Boolean Logic)

Use AND / OR to join search terminology.

  • OR - joins similar terms / terms that get at the same issue BROADENS
  • AND - joins dissimilar terms NARROWS

Examples: Using OR

  1. autism OR "autistic spectrum disorder"
  2. positive psychotherapy OR PPT
  3. teens OR adolescents OR "young adults"
  4. "academic performance" OR "academic success" OR "academic achievement"
  5. "social skills" OR "social competence"

Examples: Using AND

  1. leaders AND "social skills"
  2. perception AND competition AND performance

Examples using AND & OR

Sample Search A

treatment OR therapy

   AND

ADHD OR "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder"

Question: What strategy might we take if Sample A returns too many results?  How could we modify this search?

Sample Search B

deceive OR deception OR lie

   AND

detect*

   AND

"body language"

   AND

"law enforcement" OR police

Question: What strategy might we take if Sample B does not return many results?  How could we modify this search?

2) Phrase Searching " "

It is common to search for a specific phrase with "quotation marks ".  Most databases will recognize the using of quotation marks to search for two works together.

Examples: " "

  • "post traumatic stress disorder"
  • "limbic system"
  • "social anxiety"
  • "early intervention"
  • "domestic abuse"

Phrase Searching Narrows

  • social anxiety (52553 results in PsycInfo)
  • "social anxiety" (7013 results in PsycInfo)

 

3) Truncation *

Search for alternate forms of a work by truncating it and adding an asterisk *.

Examples: *

  1. trauma* > trauma, traumas, traumatic
  2. obes* > obese, obesity
  3. perform* > perform, performs, performing, performance
  4. therap* > therapy, therapies, therapeutic
     

Truncation BROADENS

  • trauma AND "mental health" AND child AND sex* (1643 results in PsycInfo)
  • trauma* AND "mental health" AND child AND sex* (2000 results in PsycInfo)