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Psychology Research Guide: Search the Library Databases

Tools & Tips for Psychology Research

What is a library database?

Library Databases are the most efficient and fastest way to find in-depth, credible articles for your research.

In them, you can find:

  • Online articles from a wide variety of sources (newspapers, magazines, journals, etc.) and covering a variety of subjects that are mostly full-text and are searchable using keywords and search terms.
  • Tools so you can find citations for an article, use filters to search for specific date ranges, limit by source type, or locate peer-reviewed or scholarly articles more easily.

Here is another definition:

"library database is a searchable electronic index of published, reliable resources. Databases provide access to a wealth of useful research materials from academic journals, newspapers, and magazines. Some databases also include e-books, relevant Web resources, and various multimedia." ~ from Berkeley College

  • REMEMBER: Databases are NOT Internet sources. They require "authentication". In other words, they are accessible to current SVC students only. To access the SVC databases, enter your MySVC/ email/ Canvas username and password to use them.

Useful Databases

The following databases might be useful for your research:

  • Academic Search Premier provides a family of databases including magazine and journal articles and ebooks.
  • ProQuest also provides a family of databases including magazine, journal, and newspaper articles.
  • Credo Reference provides a selection of online reference books, here, you can look for the Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library provides a selection of reference books, here, you can look for the Encyclopedia of Multicultural Psychology.

The tutorials on this page will help you learn how to use the databases effectively (use your MySVC/Canvas username & password to access them from home)

Build a Search Strategy

Find Academic/Scholarly Articles

Steps for Searching Databases

1. CHOOSE A TOPIC  

2. PREPARE YOUR SEARCH

  • Make a list of keywords or search terms

3. CHOOSE A DATABASE 

 4. KEEP YOUR FIRST SEARCHES SIMPLE 

  • Try using 1 keyword first, before trying the Boolean connectors: AND, OR, or NOT to combine 2 or more concepts.

5. REVIEW YOUR RESULTS

  • Too many records ? Consider changing your terms or narrow your topic to something more specific, for example:
    • Instead of "dogs" try "service dogs"
    • Try a specific group (like "young adults"),
    • Try a certain geographical location (like "United States"),
    • Try a specific date range (like "2015-2020")
  • Too few records? Try synonyms, fewer keywords, or broader terms. Use OR between terms to expand the search, for example:
    • Instead of "service canines that help with post traumatic stress syndrome", try "service dogs" AND PTSD OR trauma

6. GET THE ARTICLE

  • Make sure you can locate full-text articles (pdf or html format) then email, download or print

7. CHECK THE CITATION

  • Almost all of the databases have a tools that will provide a citation in any format for an article. Look to right side for a "cite" button 

8. LOOK AGAIN!

  • If you aren't finding what you need, or if you are feeling confident and want to keep going, try looking at other databases or in other sources. Or Ask a Librarian for help.

How to Use Academic Search Complete

How to Use Proquest

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