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Eileen Lutzow

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Research Methods

  1. Brainstorm keywords
    • use these to start your research journal
  2. Use PsycINFO and MEDLINE to identify relevant subject terms
    • start with your keywords, but don't forget to explode concepts to find related terms
    • add your subject terms to your research journal; don't forget to delineate between SU and KW
  3. Build searches in Discover using your subject terms and keywords
    • remember to limit to peer-reviewed articles
    • keep track of your searches in your research journal; note what works and what doesn't
    • note possible resources
  4. Don't forget to search for books and ebooks
    • search PASCAL too

Search Tools

Search Tools

So, now that you have your keywords you are ready to start your searches. Here are a few tools that you can use to focus your search:

  • Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT
  • AND - use AND in between connected search terms to narrow and focus the search, using AND will usually return fewer results
    • For example, search for global warming AND polar bears and the search will return only results that include both search terms
  • OR - use OR to search for results that contain alternatives to your search terms, using OR will usually return more results
    • For example, search for global warming OR climate change and the search will return results that include either of these search terms
  • NOT - use NOT if there is a search term that you want to exclude from your results
    • For example, search for global warming NOT greenhouse gases if you want to exclude all results that include greenhouse gases
  • Note: these operators can be used together
    • For example, search for global warming OR climate change AND polar bears for results that contain global warming and polar bears and also climate change and polar bears
  • Quotation marks: place around phrases or words that should show up in results together, such as "global warming". Otherwise, a search will be done for both global by itself and warming by itself.
  • Truncation: use an asterisk to search for a term that may have many variations, such as warm*. In this case, all terms that start with warm will be found, including warming, warms, warmer, etc.

Options for Research Journals

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