Suggested databases for Psychology research.
Databases contain online versions of newspapers, magazines, journals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and book chapters. Since you access databases online, many people think they are websites. They are NOT websites. You must log in to gain access to databases because they are proprietary resources leased for use by IRSC students and employees.
When searching databases, you can be more specific with your keywords for a more precise list of results. You can search within the title, abstract, or full text of the item. The hardest part of searching databases is knowing which one to choose. The IRSC list of databases offers brief information about each resource. You can also view the databases recommended by subject to help you more easily select appropriate databases.
Truncation Add an asterisk (*) to a root word to expand your search. For example, searching with the term femin*will result in articles containing the keywords feminist, feminism, feminine.
Limiting Limit your results by searching for full text, peer reviewed, date, and other limiters
provide direct or firsthand evidence of an event or person | creative sources can be primary sources | historical documents | legal documents | statistics | interviews | video recordings | audio recordings | photographs | correspondence including emails and letters
provide a summary, analysis, evaluation, or opinion about primary sources | journal articles | literary criticism | books | films and documentaries
1. Start with your research topic which is the condition you chose.
2. Do some "pre-research" if you don't know much about the condition. Use your textbook,websites, and reference materials like encyclopedias to learn more about the condition, symptoms, causes, prognosis, related issues, affected populations, etc. During this pre-research, write down relevant keywords as you find them.
Condition: Alzheimer's Disease
A pre-research source: The National Institute of Health's Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
Possible keywords: Alzheimer's, "Alzheimer's Disease", dementia, brain, "brain disorder", elderly, "cognitive impairment", paranoia, delusions, confusion, onset, genetic, memory, "memory loss", plaques, "brain imaging", aging, prognosis, cure, treatment
3. Choose the appropriate database. You may need to try several to find the best results. Multidisciplinary databases like Academic Search Complete and databases with a psychology focus like PsycArticles are good choices.
4. Set limiters in the database. Select the "Full Text" and "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals" boxes. You may also want to limit the publication date range at this time. If you want results from the last five years only, set the first date in the range to five years ago and leave the second date blank to get articles published through to the current date.
5. Enter your keywords in to the search fields strategically using Boolean operators. The databases allow you to search for terms connected by AND, OR, or NOT.
Using AND will give you results which must include the keywords in both fields.
Example: "Alzheimer's disease" AND treatment
Using OR will give you results which include either of the terms or both.
Using NOT will eliminate results with a term you don't want to include.
Example: information literacy NOT health > results will not include the word "health" anywhere in the searchable fields
Other tips include enclosing compound keywords, exact phrases, and titles in double quotation marks (e.g. "Alzheimer's disease") so that the database only returns results with the words in that exact order.
Truncation can be useful when searching for a term that is a root word with several endings. Use the * to truncate a term.
Example: nurs* returns results for nurse, nurses, nursing, nursed