Applied Social Psychology

Course #: PS374-BR

Choosing keywords

  • Formulate a research question in order to focus your ideas about the topic. See this video about how to create an effective research question
  • Write down the different concepts used in this question (“facebook” AND “university students” AND “impact”)
  • For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“facebook” OR “online social networks”)
  • TIP: Find additional clues for terms in the titles and abstracts of articles
  • Locating the right combination of keywords takes time. You will need to go back and forth, revising the terms as you examine your search results
  • Click here for a short video on how to choose effective keywords

Finding articles

  • To find scholarly articles, look for the “peer-reviewed” option in the databases. (What is a peer-reviewed article? Click here to find out)
  • Do you already know the title of the article you want? Watch this short video on how to find an article when you know the title

Using Google Scholar to find Laurier Library articles

To make the most effective use of Google Scholar:

  • Click on the wheel in the top right-hand corner; click on ““Library Links” on the left side of the page. Type the word “Laurier”; check the link to Wilfrid Laurier University and save preferences
  • Look for the “Get it @ Laurier” link beside articles that the library owns
  • Use the advanced search option for more targeted searching
  • If you find too many irrelevant resources, change the dropdown option from search “anywhere in the article” to search “in the title of the article”
  • If the article is not free, click on the link to other versions of it (just below the description of the article). One of the versions may be freely available
  • To find key authors on your topic check the “cited by” link
  • If the article is dated, click on the “cited by” link for more recent articles on the same topic

Too many search results?

  • If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “twitter” instead of “online social networks”)
  • Try adding more concepts to your search (“twitter” AND “youth”). Adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results

Too few search results?

  • Think in terms of broader categories (“online social networks” rather than “twitter”)
  • Add alternate terms for each concept (“online social networks” OR “social media”). Adding more terms that are linked by “OR” will increase your number of search results
  • TIP: Look at the bibliographies of the most pertinent articles on your topic. One author can lead you to others in the field

Getting help with writing the paper

Creating the bibliography

  • Click here for Purdue University’s online examples from the APA style guide. The print volume can be found at the front desk and in the Laurier book section of the Brantford library (BF 76.7.P83 2010)
  • See our short video tutorials on when to cite and how to cite in APA

Need help?

  • Don’t hesitate to contact me (Pauline Dewan); I am here to help you. For additional information, see my contact page
  • Email me at
  • Call me at 519 756-8228 ext. 5529
  • Drop in for help or make an appointment. My office is on the lower floor of the building beside the library (Grand River Hall, Room 108B).
  • Instant message a Laurier librarian for help by clicking on “Ask Us” (from the homepage of the Laurier Library)

Please note: The Library is committed to providing programs, events and services that are accessible to all. Please contact us if you require accommodation due to a disability.