A starting point to help with your research and coursework in psychology.

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few simple techniques that can help you get higher quality search results in almost any of EMU's scholarly databases. The same techniques even work in many ordinary search engines like Google, so you can use them outside of your coursework too.

  • Use AND to make your search results more relevant
    Example search phrase: sleep AND memory

If you search for more than one keyword with AND between them, this tells the database, "Show me things that talk about both of these topics, not just one or the other." It can give you a smaller list of results that are a better match to exactly what you want to learn about.

  • Use OR to search for related ideas or synonyms
    Example search phrase: autism OR "Asperger syndrome"

Joining keywords with OR tells the database, "Show me things that use at least one of these terms, but they don't have to use both." This is great for researching a topic that is called by different names, or if the preferred term for your research topic has changed over time.

  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases with more than one word
    Example search phrase: "social media"

Putting a phrase in quotation marks tells a database to look for the exact phrase that you've given it. Without quotation marks, a database might show you articles that just use each of the words somewhere in the article, even if they're not about your topic at all.

  • Use an asterisk (*) to search for different forms of a word
    Example search phrase: educat* (will find articles that contain the words "educate," "education," etc.)

You can search for many different forms of a word at once, if you enter part of the word with an asterisk (*) at the end. The asterisk just represents any letter or group of letters that might be on the end of the word.


To see how these skills work in databases like PsycINFO or ERIC, check out the video below.

Basics of PsycINFO, ERIC, and Other ProQuest Databases

The techniques shown in this video work for most ProQuest databases, including ProQuest One Business, ERIC, ProQuest PowerSearch, PsycINFO, Communication Studies Multisearch, Dissertations & Theses Global, EconLit, GenderWatch, Philosopher's Index, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Sociological Abstracts, and more.

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