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PSYC 205

Understanding Sources

Search Tips

Search Tips

Here are some tips to help you search. If you need more help, use our contact info to the right.

Keep it simple! Good search terms are usually one word (i.e., autism) or one very simple phrase (i.e., global warming). Don't search sentences or long phrases all in one search box (i.e., effects of global warming, fast food industry in the US, etc.).

Start by identifying the main concepts in your topic. What 2-4 words or simple phrases are most important?

Many of the article databases start you on a screen with 3 search boxes. Use those simple words or phrases you came up with to fill the boxes. Try putting just one word/phrase in each box. If the database only shows you one box, go ahead and put all the words together.

Take a look at your results. Are the articles useful? Did the words/phrases you used seem to get you what you need, or do you need to try some new terms instead?

Play around with your search terms. Even if you found good articles, you might be able to find more with new words.