Below are a few starting terms and concepts to search for each topic to get you started. You should also read the articles that have been given as starting points for your chosen topic to identify other relevant concepts to investigate.
Possible question: Is it a good thing to be _________?
Possible question: What predicts support for __________ ?
Possible question: Does ________ improve health outcomes?
|Synonym||Dual process theory|
Possible question: Do babies have ________ ?
|Keyword||Influencers and social media|
Possible question: Do ________ influence well-being?
The first thing to consider when searching is what you need to find. To do this, you should define your topic.
|Synonym||behaviour / behavior||knowledge|
See more about identifying keywords and synonyms.
Credo includes a range of psychology dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks and more.
Use a search strategy to find information more effectively and efficiently by:
AND, OR and NOT are known as Boolean operators.
- AND (find all these words) - E.G. psychology AND learning
- OR (find any of these words) - E.G. "child psychology" OR "developmental psychology"
- NOT (do not include results with this word)
Knowing when and how to use Boolean operators effectively can greatly improve search results.
See more about using Boolean operators.
When modifying keywords, consider using:
Phrase searching involves placing double quotation marks ("__") around two or more words to create a search term.
This technique narrows the search to retrieve only those results in which the exact phrase appears.
Truncation is a searching technique used in databases in which a word ending is replaced by a symbol.
The most commonly used truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). Check the database help page if you have problems.
Example: the truncated word, psychol*, will search for results containing psychology, psychological, psychologically's etc.
Wildcards are symbols used in database searches to represent a letter or letters within a word to be able to search different forms or spelling simultaneously. The types of wildcards can differ from database to database. Check the database help page for more details.
Example:Behavio?r will find behaviour (English spelling) or behavior (US spelling)
See more about developing your search strategy
When evaluating your results, you should consider the following questions.
What is the intended audience?
Questions to ask to determine this include:
- Is it written for researchers or a general audience?
- Is the language technical or filled with jargon or can anyone understand it?
- Does it have informative tables and figures or lots of glossy pictures?
- Does it have a formal layout - such as Introduction, Methodology, Results, Conclusion or is it just a whole article?
- Does it include references or not?
If the answer to each question is the first option, it is more likely to be a scholarly publication suitable for use by university students. Go to our Evaluating Sources guide to find more about scholarly and popular publications.
Is the content biased?
It is impossible to be totally value-neutral (unbiased). As such the best that can be hoped for is that perspectives/bias be recognised.
Even significantly biased data may still be useful as long as you recognise the bias. You may need to look for resources with differing bias to get a balanced picture.
To determine bias, ask:
- Is it clear whether the content comes an advertiser or from a non-commercial source?
- What is the purpose of the resource? is it trying to inform you or sell you something?
- Does it make reasonable statements? Or dramatic claims?
- Do you know what bias the author or publisher has ? Do a search on the author/publisher to see what other resources they are associated with.
- Does the source provide a balanced viewpoint, or just one side of an argument?
Peer-review (also known as refereeing) is the process journal editors use to ensure the articles they publish meet the standards of good scholarship. Academic papers (journal articles, research papers etc) are examined by a panel of other scholars in the field (the author's peers). The panel may decide to accept the paper, recommend revision or reject it completely.
Look at our Evaluating Sources guide to find out more about peer review and how to identify peer reviewed articles.
How accurate is it?
- Do the facts fit with what you already know? Why / why not?
- Are there cited (and verifiable) references for its information – this is just as necessary for online resources such as websites etc.
- Does the information agree with that given by at least 2 other credible resources?
- Does the information contradict itself?
- Is the information complete or are there obvious gaps?
- Do the facts provided seem too good to be true?
How current is the information?
- Is the information current and up-to-date? Does it need to be?
- Is it clearly stated when the information was written and/or updated?
- Is the information on the page obviously outdated?
- Are there a lot of broken links?
- Does the bibliography end some years ago?
Check with your lecturer how recent you assignment resources need to be. Many databases let you specify a date range when searching.
You can also use the Cornell Method Template to critically read and analyse the information contained in the articles you find in your results.
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