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PSY 312: Getting Started
Class assignment on researching a personal behavior
For background information, start in Google but don't stay there.
The library database, Credo Reference Online will naturally narrow your search, improve your research, increase your comfort in academic research and support your critical thinking. Credo is our academic Google! Try the Mirror Effect.
If the article is in the database, you will see one of these icons below the citation. Just click on the icon to get to the article..
This button provides links from library databases to online full text articles, when available. If an article isn't available online or in print, you may request it viaILLiad Interlibrary Loan.
Turn your topic into a question: who, what, where, why and how.
When using our databases for journal articles, you have a lot more control over how you design the search. This also means you should get better, more targeted results.
Before you start searching, try focusing your topic by writing a one sentence research question. For example: In what ways are positive reinforcements better than negative reinforcements for bad behavior?
Identify the main ideas in your research question.
Boil the statement down to keywords, or the most important elements of your issue. EX: bad behavior, work, reinforcement, conditioning, positive, negative
Use an asterisk to find variations of a word. EX: reinforc*will find reinforce, reinforcing, reinforcement
Then, separate the keywords with the "and" and "or" boolean operators EX: reinforc* or condition*
The above search strategy in thePsycnetdatabase will look like this.
You can also limit your search to "peer reviewed" publications so you search only the academic literature.
If you see this page after you run a few of these searches, take it as a huge compliment. Running searches that have this level of sophistication causes Google to be suspicious of you. Basically, it's Google saying, "Wait, most people don't know how to search like this. Who are you and how did you learn how to really use the Internet."
Limit Your Search
Most databases also allow you to limit your search or refine your results set by:
material type (eg. Review articles, which will provide an overview of research on a particular topic)
Where you search depends on your topic and what you need to know.