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.Applied Psychology

Research Tips

Example of a topic 

Smell is the sense most closely linked to memory. An example of a broad search phrase: relationship between sense of smell and memory. 

Tip: Don’t try to cram a long string of words or sentences into a search box. Instead think of a few keywords that reflect your topic the best. 


  1. Searching Mode: Subject 

Use APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms to narrow down an initially broad topic or discover what other terms are used by the database. 

“smell” – the term used is “olfactory perception”  

“memory” subtopics: “long term” and “short term”. If you use both, connect them by “AND” to retrieve the articles that include both terms.

Now I can ask a research question: 

Are both long-term and short-term memory affected by the sense of smell?    


From this research question I select a few key terms I will use in my research process:  

 smell                           long-term memory                    short-term memory  


You get fewer results but more relevant. 


  1. Searching Mode: Keyword 

Advanced Search 

This mode gets you more results.

Multiple search boxes. Use them to add more keywords. For example, “human” or “elderly”. 

On the left: limit by date and material type.