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PSY 312: Getting Started

Class assignment on researching a personal behavior

Where to Start...

For background information, start in Google but don't stay there.undefined

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




behavior  analysis                                       


behavior analysis

Where is My Article

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 via ILLiad Interlibrary Loan.

Search Strategy

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.
    • bad behavior
    • positive reinforcement
    • negative reinforcement
  • 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 the PsycNet database will look like this.

You can also limit your search to "peer reviewed" publications so you search only the academic literature.

Site Searches

Google Advanced Search Shortcuts

Government Website Searching behavior analysis

Adding quotations makes it an exact search.

Educational Sites Searches behavior analysis

PowerPoint Sites Searching:    behavior analysis site ppt

The Scary Page From Google         undefined

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:

  • date
  • language
  • age
  • subject
  • gender
  • special population
  • women
  • children
  • geographical
  • material type (eg. Review articles, which will provide an overview of research on a particular topic)
  • journal title




Key Databases

Where you search depends on your topic and what you need to know.

Need an overview? Try searching Gale Virtual Reference Library or Opposing Viewpoints in Context.

Need a little more detail? Search for books on your topic. You don't have to read the entire book.

These  Databases   are good starting points for finding articles that document research in Behavior Analysis.

Psychology and Behavior Sciences

APA PsycINFO (1987 - Present)
Covers professional and academic literature in Psychology.


Dissertations & Theses Global

Dissertations can be a source of information about very new areas of research that have not reported in scholarly journals yet.

CINAHL Plus with Full Text 
Covers over 3,000 journals in nursing and allied health.
Education Research Complete
Social Sciences Citation Index 
Offers a different way to search using citation relationship among articles. Similar to Scopus.

Subject Headings

There is not a specific subject heading called Applied Behavior Analysis. Here are some suggested subject headings to use instead.

  • Autism
  • Autistic children-education
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Behavior disorders in children
  • Behavior modification
  • Behavior therapy
  • Behaviorism (Psychology)
  • Children with mental disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities
  • People with mental disabilities
  • Psychology, applied- research
  • Skinner, B.F. (Burrhis Frederic), 1904-1990

Find the Best Terms for Your Search

Find the best terms to use for your search and discover additional vocabulary by using the APA Thesaurus located in the APA PsycInfo and PsycARTICLES dashboard.