This page gives you tips for finding information for assignments. Look in the tabs for other subject resources and topic guides. If you need further help finding information for your assignment, please contact the Psychology Subject Librarian.
Identify the key ideas in your topic
These words will form the basis of your search. To do a really effective search you will need to think more deeply about the search words you use. Consider what words a variety of authors writing about your topic might use.
You will find your information more effectively by asking the following four questions about your key search words:-
What synonyms or related words might usefully be included in my search? e.g. adolescents / teenagers intervention / treatment
What about search words with variant endings?
This is specially important for finding both the singular and plural of search words. e.g.child* finds child/children/childhood
Note that in many databases you can use an asterisk at the end of the root word to find other endings.
What about search words with different spellings?
This is important when searching international sources. PsycINFO subject headings use North American spelling. To do an effective search, you will need to incorporate both British and American spelling into your search, e.g. (behavior or behaviour). PsycINFO enables you to use an asterisk as a wild card, behavio*r will find behavior or behaviour.
How do I connect my search words?
How do we logically connect our search words to achieve our intended result?
Use or to connect synonyms and related words. Place brackets around words connected with or. e.g. (domestic violence or family violence).
Use and when you want to focus your search by adding in additional words e.g. child development and attachment
More information about connecting search words
Experiment with combinations of search words to find the ones that retrieve the best information for your topic.
Use dictionaries and encyclopaedias to find definitions and background information. Articles from specialised subject encyclopaedias are authoritative and often substantial.
Read more on:
Journal articles are very important as they publish the latest academic research on a topic. To find journal articles, you'll need to search the recommended databases for Psychology. PsycINFO is the key database for finding psychology journal literature. Read more on:
Contact margaret.paterson (Subject Librarian for Psychology) for help with effectively searching databases to find the information you need.
Read more on: