Skip to Main Content

Research Guides@Tufts

Psychology 32: Experimental Psychology

This guide is designed to support students in Psychology 32: Experimental Psychology

Logging Your Research

Keeping a research log is an excellent practice for organizing sources and successful sources. This can be as simple as a document with a record of your successful keyword combinations or it can be structured to include annotations, summaries, or notes on specific sources and how they inform your project.

Some best practices:

  • Be sure to record as many of your keywords as possible
  • Save your successful search combinations and be sure to include the date searched - databases are updated regularly and it's often the case that the same search may yield slightly different results on different days
  • Include notes or annotations for each source - this will prove especially helpful when preparing to write a literature review or annotated bibliography

Below are a few free and helpful research log tools:


Effective Search Strategies

Whether using JumboSearch, a research database such as PsycInfo, or another search tool such as Google Scholar, there are strategies, techniques, and best practices that will enable you to get the most out of your search. Approaching your search process with a strategy is a great way to find the relevant material more quickly and efficiently.

Generate Keywords

Your keywords are the meaningful, topical terms in your research question. For example: "How can mood disorders affect teens' performance in school?" - keywords are "mood disorders," "teens," and "school performance"

  • Extract the meaningful, topical terms in your research question
  • Brainstorm as many synonyms and related terms, concepts, or ideas as possible
  • Topical reference sources such as encyclopedias and handbooks can be a great help in this process
  • Feel free to use a thesaurus or similar tool to generate more related terms

Combine Keywords for Effective Searches

Certain terms are used to combine your keywords in specific ways in order to retrieve more relevant results. These terms are :

  • AND - NARROWS your search results. Each result will contain ALL of your keywords.
  • OR - BROADENS your search results. Accounts for synonyms and related terms. For example, "teen OR adolescent"
  • NOT - EXCLUDES a term from your search

Boolean Operators