Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Psychology: Search Tips

This guide provides you with quick access to the psychology resources at Columbia College Library

Understanding Scholarly Articles

Database Searching

The video below, by UBC Libraries, demonstrates how to use Academic Search Complete to find articles. The search tips apply to almost any library database.

University of British Columbia. (2015, July 15). Academic Search Complete. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEdCwq9H0LM.

Search Tips

  • Remember that you will need to use keywords, not full sentences, when searching the databases
     
  • Start out simple. Search using one of the main concepts (keywords) you identified
     
  • Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase, but do not put quotation marks around your entire search. 

Example of a bad search using a full sentence and a good search, using keywords and short phrases

  • If you get too few results, use OR to broaden your search and to include related keywords. These could be broader, narrower, related terms or synonyms
     
  • If you still get too few results, try searching in a different database

 

Screenshot showing the use of OR to connect synonyms in a database search

  • If you get too many results, you will need to add in keywords representing your second concept using AND to narrow your search.  

 

 

 

Screenshot showing a search using AND to narrow results