Psychology Search

Discovery Database Example: EMU's Esearch, Google Scholar

  • The items in discovery databases are NOT individually examined by humans and no standard vocabulary is applied to describe the contents of the database
  • When searching discovery databases, you are responsible for being alert and attentive to the vocabulary used by others to describe the topics you are investigating
  • Your search strategy--
    If you started by searching in a traditional academic database, make a list of the database subject vocabulary used to describe your topic, as well as any other synonymous words/phrases you saw being used by the authors of the items in the database results list


Articulate the subject you want to investigate:

Therapy for ptsd for people who experience/engage in spouse abuse

Identify the words/phrases that constitute the main topics:

Therapy for ptsd for people who experience/engage in spouse abuse



If the discovery database offers an Advanced search screen similar to those found in traditional academic databases, as does EMU's Esearch, use that screen to enter your search as you would in a traditional academic database. [NOTE: Esearch requires that the OR connector used to separate synonyms in the same search box must be capitalized]

The discovery database Google Scholar does NOT offer such an Advanced search screen at this time. In Google Scholar and Google you would follow a different search-term entry strategy: pick one word or phrase for EACH of your main topics and type them into the single search box of the discovery tool, one following the other, without any additional punctuation

therapy posttraumatic stress disorder spouse abuse

Review your results

NOTE: If the results do not look very relevant, try putting quotes around each of your topics that is a multi-word phrase, e.g.,  therapy "posttraumatic stress disorder" "spouse abuse"

If you found enough material to answer your question, you are done

If you did not find enough, replace one topical word/phrase at a time in the search box and review the result list after each change

therapy "posttraumatic stress disorder" "partner abuse"
therapy "posttraumatic stress disorder" "domestic violence"
therapy "posttraumatic stress disorder" "intimate partner violence"

intervention ptsd "partner abuse"
intervention ptsd "domestic violence"
intervention ptsd "intimate partner violence"


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