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SMU Libraries

Law and Psychology (LAW 477): Research Tips and Strategies

Reading Journal Literature

It can be challenging to read scholarly journal articles.  The language is dense - and it can get overwhelming quickly!  Watch the following (5 minute!) video to learn the best way to tackle journal articles.  You will learn about the best order to read articles, how to identify the main point, and strategies for taking notes.

Database Search Tips

Databases have powerful search tools to help you get relevant results.

AND – use to specify that both words must be present. E.g. Japan AND China

OR – use to specify that either words can be present. E.g. Asia OR Asian

* – use to replace characters in the word and helps to retrieve variations of the word. The symbol used may vary from database to database. Check the help or search tips in the database. E.g. Use globali* to include words like (globalise or globalize or globalizing or globalisation or globalization).

( ) – use to specify which group of words to process first. E.g. nationalism and (Asia OR Asian)

"Phrase search" – use to specify the order of the words. E.g. “National identity”

Field search – use to specify the field that the words must appear. E.g. Nationalism in SU Subject Terms or Korea in GE Geographic Terms

Check the individual database Help page for more tools

PsycINFO Search Tips

Tip for more relevant results

  1. Use keywords to search and identify some relevant articles
  2. Check the Subjects used and search again using appropriate subjects. E.g. For personal attractiveness the subject used is physical attractiveness
  3. Use Advanced Search, type the subject term e.g. physical attractiveness and change the field from Select a Field (Optional) to SU Subjects or MJ Word in Major Subject Heading
  4. Check the Thesaurus in PsycINFO for more subject terms used

Tip to find research on a specific Group

  • In both Basic Search and Advanced Search, scroll down under Limit your results to find Population, select the required group, e.g. Human or Male. This is useful when the research can be done on both groups, e.g. mate selection research can be done for animals and humans and you are only interested in humans.
  • If you are interested in research on a specific age group, click on Age and select the appropriate one. E.g. Creativity in Subject and select Young adulthood (18-29) 

Research strategy videos

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