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Sociology -- Resources & Services (Main Library)

The Sociology Resources Portal provides links to a wide range of resources to facilitate course work, scholarship and career development.

Search Term and Search Query Development

To successfully find articles in PsycINFO or any other research literature database your search terms must match those terms used to describe the article in the database.

How do you do that ?????

  • Think of synonymous ways to describe your concepts
    • Drug abuse, but also substance abuse or drug addiction
  • Use the search schematic (below) to organize your terms
  • Use logical and positional connectors to define term and concept relationships
    • drug abuse AND treatment  --  to narrow your search
    • drug abuse  OR alcoholism  --  to broaden your search
    • fear N4 crime  -- to get articles with the words “fear” and “crime” within 4 words of one another, e.g. crime in cities is causing fear among the inhabitants
  • Use truncation to include derivatives of your terms
    • Use therap*  to retrieve articles with the terms therapy, therapies or therapeutical


Hypothetical search:  Find articles identifying the effectiveness of various therapeutic approaches for treating teenagers with drug abuse problems.

Search Schematic

drug* N4 abus*



substance N4 abus*




(too broad, retrieves non-drug related addicitons)






narcotic* (or other specific drug names)




NOTE: The development of the search query and its terms is iterative.  That is, you learn as you search and your search query evolves with the addition of new terms and perhaps the removal of others.  Carefully inspect the references you retrieve for new ways and new terms to search.


Here is how the above search might look in the PsycINFO

 PsycINFO Search


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