Search Example

Image of JohnJohn's instructor said he needs to find 2 articles for the short paper he is writing. One of the articles needs to be scholarly or peer-reviewed. John is doing a paper on personality and the role of birth order on personality. He is a middle child and wants to know more about how this may have affected his personality. Let’s go through this example step-by-step, based on what we’ve learned.

1. Determine the topic:

role of birth order on personality

2. What are some keywords and related terms?

Keyword: birth order-->Related terms: only children, oldest, youngest, middle child, family Keyword: personality -->Related terms : emotion, traits, intellect

3. Try your search with different keywords

In Academic Search Premier, you can put your concepts into the search boxes such as (birth order OR middle child*) AND personality. John tried a few different searches and found this one gave him articles that he was interested in and looked like they would be useful for his paper: (personality OR intellect) AND birth order. Here is an example from Academic Search Premier: Johns final search is (personality OR intellect) AND birth order TIP: Student's topics are often too broad (1000s of articles) or too narrow (3 articles). Continue to modify your search until your topic is focused enough so you can get a handle on it. But not too specific, or you will find no one else has written on it. TIP: Check how your results are being sorted or listed. It is often by date with the most current at the top. Generally you can change it to "relevance."
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