Skip to Main Content
UC Logo
Libraries | Ask the Libraries

Counseling Resources

Your CECH Library guide to multi-disciplinary resources in support of graduate programs in Counseling and Counselor Education.

Search Word Help

Search Word Help

The search words you use to search article databases like PsycINFO will yield the best results if the words mirror database terms used to describe the articles or are in the text of the articles.

Key Elements of Successful Searching
  • Synonyms: use more than one word to describe your topic: for example: teenager or adolescent
  • Truncation: use * to truncate words to find as many forms as possible for a word: for example: addict* will yield addict, addicts, addiction, addictive, etc. 
  • Logical operators OR and AND: for example: addict* AND adolescents will yield articles that deal with both the topics of addict/addicts/addiction/addictive and adolescents (narrows your search); addict* OR substance abuse will yield articles on either addict/addicts/addiction/addictive or substance abuse (broadens your search)
  • Phrase searching: use N4 to find terms 4 words apart: for example, drug N4 abus* yields articles where the words drug and abuse/abuser/abusing appear within four words of each other
Clarify Your Concepts by Using a Table

If you are researching for treatment for adolescents struggling with drug addiction, here is one possible set of search terms:

Concept: Drug Abuse

Concept: Adolescents

Concept: Treatment

drug N4 abus*



substance N4 abus*



narcotic* (or other specific drug names)




Limit to Full Text, Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, or to English Language Articles If Applicable 

Review your search results and use words from the subjects, titles or abstracts to make your search strategy more effective.

screenshot of PsychINFO database search

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

Contact Us | Staff Directory

University of Cincinnati

Alerts | Clery and HEOA Notice | Notice of Non-Discrimination | eAccessibility Concern | Privacy Statement | Copyright Information

© 2021 University of Cincinnati