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PSY 382 : Construct your search

Library databases


Best Bet: Thesaurus terms / Subjects / Descriptors in PsycINFO and ERIC (EbscoHost)

  • Word(s) and/or phrase(s) used to describe a specific concept or idea
  • Individual citations are reviewed, usually by a subject specialist, and the appropriate term is applied (even if the author does not use that exact term

Keywords (Google Scholar) 

  • Author selected
  • Word in title or abstract (or other text field in a database)
  • For full-text databases: any word anywhere in an article (often including footnotes and references) might be a keyword.
  • Google Scholar articles can be from questionable journals

Best Bet! Locate Thesaurus Terms in the PsycInfo and ERIC

Best Bet for Thesaurus Terms

PsycINFO Thesaurus

ERIC (EbscoHost) Thesaurus 

Research Question to Search Terms

PsycInfo Find Your Terms

  • Think of your research question in two or three concepts.  
  • Use the Thesaurus to build search terms for each concept
  • Always use Advanced Search 
  • BEST BET!  Choose 1 Thesaurus Term to be the MAIN TOPIC
  • The second and if necessary, a third term do not need to limited to a certain field 

Sample PsycInfo search