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PSY 356 Research Methods for Psychology: Getting Started

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Formulating Your Search Strategy

The first step in the search process is getting a grip on the key terms.  For an example, let's try the following hypothesis:

Women are more likely to conform than men.

First, we isolate the important phrases; in this case, "women," "men," and "conform." We can use these phrases as starting points for a list of synonymous terms, broader and narrower topics, related words, and reversed word orders. Here's a quick list:

  • women
  • females
  • femininity
  • men
  • males
  • masculinity
  • conform
  • conforming
  • conformity
  • social norms
  • social influences

Phrases are searched as keywords unless they are surrounded by quotation marks (" ").

Another helpful tool is truncation. Using an asterisk (*) at the end of a root of a word will search all endings. For example, a search with "conform*" searches the following:

  • conform
  • conformed
  • conforming
  • conformity
  • conforms


Adaptive Responses to Social Exclusion: Social Rejection Improves Detection of Real and Fake Smiles

Psychologicals Tests

Section 9.11 of the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct," written by the American Psychological Association states, "The term test materials refers to manuals, instruments, protocols, and test questions or stimuli and does not include test data as defined in Standard 9.04, Release of Test Data. Psychologists make reasonable efforts to maintain the integrity and security of test materials and other assessment techniques consistent with law and contractual obligations, and in a manner that permits adherence to this Ethics Code."

Therefore, the library does not purchase or make available unpublished psychological tests.  Please use "Tests in Print" or "Handbook of Psychological Assessment" to get help you find test instruments.

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