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PS3373 - Learning - Hill - Spring 2017: Effective Searching

Course guide to library workshop. Using PsycINFO to find peer-reviewed, academic journal articles for behavior modification paper.

Keywords to Use in Your Searches

Some keywords/subject terms to try when searching for journal articles in PsycINFO.  Use one or more of these terms in combination with your behavior to find sources for your behavior modification research paper.

  • operant conditioning 
  • reinforcement
  • punishment
  • conditioning responses
  • behavior modification
  • counterconditioning

You can find more ideas using the PsycINFO Thesaurus. There is more information about the PsycINFO Thesaurus under the PsycINFO tab on this PS3373 course guide.

Boolean Operators Video

Search Strategies


Finds all the search words

"human development and toys" finds results that include both words


Finds at least one search word

"teenagers or adolescents" finds results that have at least one of these words


Finds results that include a word but do not include another word

"childhood not adolescence" find results that mention childhood but do not mention adolescence

Combining AND, OR, and NOT

You can combine these "operators" into sophisticated searches.  

(teenagers or adolescents) and "attitudes" will find results that mention either teenagers or adolescents, or both, and also include the word attitudes


symbols like * or ! added to the end of word will often find variants of the word

therap* retrieve results with the words therapy, therapist

Searching by Subject EBSCO databases, and many others, can be search using subject terms.  This "controlled vocabulary" is the formal language used by the database to cluster articles on similar topics.  Check out the Thesaurus, if available, to find a list of subject words.  Or, take a look at the subjects listed for an article you like. Make note of its subjects and use them to do a new search.