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PSY-2150 Principles of Experimental Design: Home

Introduction

This guide is intended to help students in Professor Gauthier's Principles of Experimental Design class search for, and find, scholarly literature. The first video below is meant to assist with the "divergent thinking" brainstorming exercise. The second is a more standard introduction to database searching in Psychology, with a focus on the PsycINFO database.

Three good databases for research in this class are PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science. Google Scholar is also often useful. I have used PsycINFO in the examples below because, besides its being a great database for finding research, it provides good practice for searching on other databases. Remember to access all database through our Databases A-Z page. A fuller list of databases useful for psychology research can be found here.

The key principle that these videos try to get across is that you must "translate" your research topic or question into keywords or database-supplied subject terms, connecting similar terms with "or" and disparate groups of terms with "and." Most searches will have two or three main concepts and therefore one or two "and"s.

Please email me with any questions.

Brainstorming Assignment

This video demonstrates a "starter search" that attempts to find a diverse set of articles on a wide topic. Note that two of the main strategies are 1) Searching using the databases subject terms; and 2) Searching using words in the article's title.

Database Searching

This video demonstrates (briefly) a more standard database search put together after a research question has been mostly developed. The search uses some advanced strategies, including a mix of subject terms and keywords, as well as truncation symbols. On re-watching the video, I noticed that I may have overlooked some relevant subject terms on the second search (the one about cultural differences in face perception)--see whether you can see which ones.