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Psychology Library Research: Basic Article Search

Where to start

In many of your courses you will be asked to support your assignments and discussions with scholarly, peer-reviewed literature. These types of research articles are mostly available only in library databases.

Below is an example of a search in the psychology database PsycINFO which is a good place to consider starting much of your pyschology-related research. You can use this as a guide when searching for other scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

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Select keywords

First, make a list of the main ideas in your assignment and then brainstorm synonyms and related concepts. These will be the keywords you'll use to search the database.

Example assignment: How can stereotypes influence close relationships?

Stereotypes and close relationships are the two main ideas. Since close relationships can mean many things, we chose to focus on romantic relationships and brainstormed the specific terms marriage and dating.

  • Stereotypes
  • Marriage
  • Dating

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Choose a database

Next, choose a database that will allow you to search your topic in the scholarly literature in the field of psychology. 

  1. On the Library homepage, go to the Subject Resources box. This is where all the Library's materials are arranged by subject.


     

  2. Click on the Select a subject drop-down menu and choose Psychology. Choose a different subject if your topic is related to a different subject area.

  3. Now you are on the Psychology Research Page. This is where you can browse all of the Library's psychology materials. Click on the Psychology databases drop-down menu and choose PsycINFO. You may need to log in with your Walden e-mail address and password.

      

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Set up your search

Now we are on the databases's main search page with three search boxes where we'll set up our search. 

  1. Enter one idea/concept in each search box.

    In the first search box enter: 

    stereotypes


    In the second search box enter: 

    marriage OR dating


    Note: Combine similar ideas/concepts in one search box separated by OR. This returns results that include any of these terms.


     

  2. Scroll down the page, and under Limit your results, click the checkboxes for Full Text and Peer Reviewed. Enter a date under Publication Date if needed.


     

  3. Click the Search button.

About this search

It's important to understand how this search is structured and the type of results it will return. First, all the results will be full text articles that you can read right away. They'll also be articles from peer-reviewed journals.

Second, this is how you read the search boxes:

  • search for articles that are about stereotypes
  • AND (the drop-down menu next to the second search box)
  • articles that are also about at least one of these concepts: marriage OR dating (that's what the OR inside the search box means)

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Get the full text

A well structured search will generally return about 100-200 results. If you have more than that, consider modifying your search. When evaluating search results, keep in mind that often a single article will only answer part of your assignment. It's not unusual to have to synthesize information from multiple articles.

  • To read the article's abstract, click on the article title or magnifying glass icon after the article title. 
  • To access the full text article, look for a PDF, HTML, or Find @ Walden link. 

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