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PSY 5198 - MAPR: Search Strategies

Psychology Grad Program Guide


How do you search for - and get - relevant research results?  Use these methods:

  • Use Boolean search terms to narrow or broaden your search.  (Left box)
  • Brainstorm keywords and/or use the PsycINFO Thesaurus to find search terms that researchers use.  (Center boxes)
  • Citation-chase...forward and find relevant results. (Right box)

Boolean Searching

PsycINFO is automatically set up to do Boolean searching...using the terms AND, OR, and NOT to either narrow or broaden your search.

  • AND between two keywords will bring back less results    - only those that have both keywords.
  • OR between two keywords will bring back more results   - all those articles that have either keywords.
  • NOT between two keywords will bring back less results    - only those articles with the first keyword, but not the second keyword.

Putting quotes around a phrase can also help limit the search, but note: if you're not getting many results, try removing the quotes and see if that helps.  PsycINFO's search algorithm is being updated regularly, so...

PsycINFO Searching

Thanks to the University of East Angola for the video!

PsycINFO Thesaurus

Thanks to the University of Massachusetts in Lowell for the video!

Citation Chasing

Find a great article? 

Backwards: Find the articles the authors cited.

  • As you read through the introduction and literature review, note citations that are related to your topic.
  • Find the article information in the reference list and search for those by title in PsycINFO or using Start Your Research.

Forwards: Find out who has cited the article.

  • Copy the title and search it in Texas State's Google Scholar.
  • Click on "cited by" to see who else has used the article...and what they used it for. 
  • You can also click on "related articles" to see others similar to the original you searched. 
  • Whatever you find in Google Scholar, either use the "Findit@TxState" or look them up by title in the Start Your Research bar to ensure you're getting the published version.