Welcome to the PSY 3316 course guide! This guide is designed to help you understand how to build effective search strings using a consistent approach. Below you will find an example search that you can adapt for your own topic. On the Databases tab at the top, you will find quick links that will take you to PsycINFO and PubMed.
Okay, now that you understand some of the tools and techniques that you can use to build a search string, let's take a look at how we might develop a search using the topic of trauma exposure and bipolar personality disorder.
I begin by testing out my terms in the database to see if other researchers are using the common language that I am to describe the same topic. I look for one or two articles that sound relevant and then look more closely at the descriptors used in the abstract and in the subject fields of the database that describe the article.
"trauma* expos*" OR "trauma* event*" OR "trauma*-expos*" OR "trauma*-event*"
"borderline personality disorder"
You might be wondering why I didn't just use trauma* for the first concept in the example above. See if
you can figure it out (try that search out and scan the results). Post your ideas here and I will respond:
Most databases allow you to combine searches that you have performed- and I recommend searching for your individual concepts separately and then combining the searches with the database tools that allow you to do this - usually under search history. This quick video explains how to do this:
If your goal is to find absolutely everything you can on a topic, you will want to make use of keywords and subject terms together in your search. Watch the two videos below that show you how to use PsycINFO's thesaurus and PubMed's MeSH builder to incorporate subject searching into your search strategies.