Senior Project and Integration Seminar

Course #: GC401

research methodology example

McKinney, C. H. (2014). Possession phenomena: A critical literature review (Order No. 3666498). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

locating books

what is a Library database?

navigating Library databases

Well developed research questions can only be developed with a comprehensive understanding of prior research and theory. This understanding is informed by research literature. The challenge is to use the appropriate tools and methods to ensure your search for this literature is both methodical and complete. Here are some steps to fine-tune your searches.

  1. Formulate specific research questions
    • identify the key elements of your questions
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • widen the scope of your results; think about how others might refer to your ideas
    • e.g, academic outcomes = school performance, grades, GPA, entrance exams, college admission, etc.
  3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • AND = results will contain all the terms
    • OR = results will contain at least one of the terms
    • NOT = results will exclude the term
    • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
  4. Limit or expand terms
    • "quotation marks" = exact
    • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
    • in PsycINFO, can include
      • age group, population group, methodology
  6. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
  7. Document and track everything you do in the steps above

* These steps are adapted from an article published in the October 2013 issue of Psychological Science Agenda.

choosing a Library database

Managing Citations