Database searching in 3 steps:
Step 1: Brainstorm keywords (words you use to describe your topic).
Step 2: Construct your search:
- Choose database(s). Start most psychology research with PsycINFO.
- On the search page, type your keywords in the boxes provided. Remember, you are typing words or word phrases, not questions.
- You will get more results if you do not select a search field.
- Select the peer-reviewed limiter to limit your results to peer-reviewed or scholarly articles.
Step 3: Examine results:
- Too many results? Try applying a date limiter or using more narrow keywords to describe your topic. For example, if you searched "anxiety," try narrower terms like "panic" or "fear." There may be search terms suggested on the left side of your results page or you can search terms using the THESAURUS or SUBJECT TERM index that is often provided with the database.
- Not enough results? Try searching a broader topic; use fewer keywords. Try new keywords from your brainstorm list or use search terms suggested by the database.
- Found the perfect article? First, see if it is offered in full text. If not, click the "Find It" button to find the article in print or another database or order it through Inter-Library Loan. Next, don't stop searching! Look at the "subject terms" or "author supplied" terms to see if those terms match your keywords. If not, try some searches using those terms.