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Educational Psychology & Counseling

Searching Tips

Interfaces and search options vary across databases, but best practices for searching are relatively consistent across interfaces. No matter which database you choose, remember these important tips. 

  1. Don't search with your topic as a single phrase. Determine the key concepts of your topic. Then place each concept in an individual search bar.
    • Search Box 1: adolescents
    • Search Box 2: motivation
    • Search Box 3: behavior
  2. When searching for synonyms or related terms for core concepts, use OR.
    • Search Box 1: adolescents OR teenagers OR young adults OR teen OR youth
    • Search Box 2: motivation OR engagement OR participation
    • Search Box 3: behavior OR attitudes OR actions OR perceptions
  3. In each database, look for "peer reviewed" to limit your search to scholarly articles. 
  4. When appropriate, set date range on your topic. Example: 2009-2019. Ten years is the benchmark for searching most of the time. Sometimes you will want to go further back in time or have items more current.