Skip to main content

Psychology

Literature Search Tips

Databases

Core database

The following databases contain sources that are highly relevant to psychology research:

Additional databases

The following databases may contain sources that are relevant to your psychology research:

EBSCO Database Social Science Research Finder

Social Science Research Databases
Limit Your Results

How to Search the Databases

The academic databases listed on this page are excellent sources for  journal articles. Library databases are different from online search engines like Google, so you will need to master a few basic concepts in order to use them effectively. This guide will outline what you need to know to find the best sources:

Exclude irrelevant words

When using the databases, you should exclude all extraneous words from your searches. First, leave out all articles (a, and, the) in your search. Next, narrow your search terms down to two or three words that describe exactly what you hope to find For example, if you are writing a paper about the effect of music education on memory, narrowing your search terms down to memory and music education will likely retrieve a manageable list of more precise results.

Select and refine search terms

After you have selected your initial search terms, list any synonyms or related terms that might be relevant to your topic. For example, if your search terms are memory and "music education", you might want to try synonyms such as "music learning"  or "music cognition" in place of "music education". You may even replace your term with a related term, such as "music perception." Successful searches are often the result of trying out a variety of terms. Most databases will provide you with suggestions of additional or alternate search terms to use, which can lead you to better results in a shorter amount of time.

Combine or exclude terms

Two or more search terms may be combined in different ways to yield different results. The connectors AND, OR, NOT are useful search tools, and most databases have these built in to make searching easier. Use the connector AND to yield results that contain both search terms. Use OR for results that contain either term. Use NOT to exclude results that contain a specific term.

Try different databases

Different databases index different content, and selecting the right database is just as important to successful searching as choosing the right search terms. A search that retrieves few or no results in one database may work well in another. If you retrieve too few or irrelevant results in one database, try a different one.

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a great place to find citations and abstracts for scholarly articles.  If you find an article that you need through Google Scholar, contact the library to find out if we have it available in full text or request to receive the article through RSU Libraries interlibrary loan service.