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Psychology Research Guide

A guide for conducting research in the field of psychology

Keyword Searching


A keyword search looks for items that contain that word or phrase in the title, abstract, description, text, etc. Different writers use different terminology, so be sure to think of synonyms or similar words. If you search for mood, you won't get papers that use the term affect‚Äč instead (for example, seasonal affective disorder is a mood disorder but is often not referred to as such). To search for both terms, you can use the OR boolean: mood OR affect.

What are Booleans?

Booleans are words that are used to connect search terms-

  • OR will broaden your search by searching for items with either term: mood OR affect will retrieve papers that have at least one of the words.

Subject Searching

Subject headings are similar to tags in that they are assigned to works that are related to the topic. Unlike a keyword search, subject heading searches will find books that don't necessarily have the term in the title or abstract but are about that subject. You can think of a subject heading results list as a list of recommended books on a topic. 

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