We recommend searching in APA PsycInfo (click link above).
Tip #1: Start with a simple phrase search.
Tip #2: Refine your search by specifying which fields the database will look in.
Tip #3: Use Boolean operators to effectively combine terms.
Tip #4: Set limits to find a particular methodology.
Tip #5: Sort results by relevance.
To do a phrase search, simply type your keywords into the search boxes. This screenshot shows one example:
The quotation marks around the term indicate that an article will only be found if the words appear in this order.
To narrow the search further, you can add another keyword or phrase next to AND on the second line. For instance, you can try adding health. Because we're combining the terms with AND, both terms would have to be present for an article to appear in our results.
To do a field search, specify in which field(s) the search will be carried out. The screenshot below shows that the database will look for stress* in article titles and for perceiv* or percept* in abstracts. If an article's title and abstract don't contain these keywords, the article will not be one of our results.
The asterisks after our keywords direct the database to search for variations on those words. For instance, stress* will find article titles that contain the word stress (or stressed, stressful, stressors, etc.).
You can also try looking for articles that mention experiments. See the screenshot below for an example of how to add this component.
Articles with experiments can also be found by setting a filter or limit, as you'll see in the next tip.
Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) are used to combine terms. Read on for more about these operators:
Professor Siciliani and her TAs usually want studies that exhibit experimental manipulation. These can be hard to find by entering keywords, since studies won't always declare themselves as manipulations or use the terms dependent variable and independent variable—although some will. You may need to use critical thinking to determine whether the article fits this criterion.
However, some limits can be set—either before you run your search (look below the search boxes) or after (look to the left of the results)—to get you a bit closer. One helpful limit is Methodology. To find articles with experiments, you can select either Clinical Trial or Empirical Study. CAVEAT: These options will include studies that are formed around questionnaires, surveys, and interviews, which are not permitted by Dr. Siciliani. So keep that in mind as you scroll through the results.
The screenshots below show the Methodology category before (top image) and after the basic search has been run (bottom image).
In the second screenshot above, the numbers in parentheses indicate how many articles with that methodology will appear, based on the keywords you've entered (in this case, stress* AND perceiv* or percept*). To find Clinical Trial after you've run your search, you may first need to click the Show More link to add it to the visible limits and then select its checkbox. (By default, the database only shows the limits with the most hits.)
It's usually a good idea to sort your results by Relevance instead of the default Date Newest. You'll find the sort options just above the first result.
You may also want to change your Page Options from Standard to Detailed. This will allow you to see the entire abstract as you scroll instead of just a snippet.