COG SCI 100: Cognitive Science

Search Tips

Power search features for most article databases:
  • Use synonyms -- there are many ways to express a concept (teenager or teenagers or adolescent)
  • Use truncation to get different forms of the word, for example teenage* will retrieve teenagers, teenager, teenaged, etc.
  • Use quotation marks when you want an "exact phrase"
  • Restrict by date -- most will let you find only the most current five years if you chose that limit.

PsycInfo Advanced Searches:
  • Use "controlled vocabulary" (also called descriptors or subject headings) if the database has them. The PsycInfo 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.
  • 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?
Last Update: December 03, 2013 18:19