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PSY290: Research Methods in Psychology

Tips for Searching

Begin your search for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles by selecting a subject specific database. Limit your search to "scholarly/peer reviewed."


  • Identify the keyword elements of your research question.
  • Try various keyword combinations. Ex: narcissism AND empathy.
  • Grab subject headings from the best results of your first searches OR click on subject headings within search results to see more results. Keep in mind, this will take you away from your original search results.
  • Search by combinations of subject words and keywords. When using subject headings, be sure to change the dropdown menu of your search box to “subject” for those terms.
  • Use the asterisk (star) key for truncation. Ex:  narcissi* will find articles containing the words “narcissism,” and “narcissist.”
  • Use control +F to find words within articles—look for words related to your research question.
  • Look at the Reference lists at the end of the most promising articles you find. Search by specific article title to see if the database you are using owns a full-text copy of that article. If you get no results, search by title in OneSearch under the Find Articles tab.


Need more help?  Use Ask-a-Librarian on the library’s main page to message with a librarian any time, day or night.

Search Terms Worksheet - Blank Sheet and Example