Skip to Main Content

HD 327: Research Methods in Human Development

Online research guide for research methods in human development..

Finding Empirical Studies

When looking for empirical studies, try the following search tips:

1) In OneSearch append the following search terms to your query:


2) In PsycNET, use the convenient Methodology drop down and select Empirical Study from the list.

Identifying Keywords

Use your research question to identify keywords and related terms for your topic.

Example of position paper topic: 

The green house model of elder care to increase quality of life and overall well-being.


Concepts Related Terms
green house retirement homes, nursing home, assisted living facility
quality of life well-being, happiness, overall health
review literature review


About Boolean Operators

By Emily Wixson on YouTube.

Strategies to Improve Search Results

1) Use keywords instead of long sentences

Search with question/statement: Green houses are an alternative to traditional nursing homes that demonstrate improved quality of life and overall well-being.

>> This usually ends up in a search with no results

Try the following strategies to improve your search queries.

2) Use the Advanced Search

Using the Advanced Search will allow you to build a stronger search query.  The advanced search can be found below the main search box on the Library homepage. 

3) Use Boolean Operators and Drop Down Menu

  • AND - Limits your search (fewer results)
  • OR - Expands your search (more results)
  • NOT - Limits your search (fewer results)
  • Use drop down menus when you are searching for a specific author, title, publication, or subject heading for more precise searching.

4) Phrase searching

  • Add "quotation marks" around specific phrases
  • Creates unique search term
  • Focuses your search (fewer results)

5) Truncation/Wildcards

  • Use wildcard (*) to truncate word so that more variations of word are found.  Truncation symbols vary by database but may include *, !, ?, or #.
  • Expands your search

Example: child* returns results for child, childs, children, children, childhood, 

Example:  colo*r returns color or colour


6) Search Limiters

Use Search Limiters to further narrow your search by date, format, and other aspects of a publication.  Search limiters are located along the left side of the search window.

Search limiters

  • narrow to Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals
  • narrow by Publication Date (e.g. 2007 - 2013)
  • narrow by Resource Type (book, ebook, article, etc.)
  • narrow by Publication Type (publication name)
  • narrow by Content Provider (database)