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HD Theory Research

Online guide for researching theoretical foundations in human development.

Research Strategies

For your research assignment, you will be looking for primary resources written by your assigned theorist.  Here is a suggested research strategy for finding information written by your theorist.

1) Find Background information

  • Use the recommended encyclopedias on the Reference Materials tab to find encyclopedia articles and biographies about your theorist.
  • Skim articles to find titles of key books and articles written by your theorist.  Make a note of these titles and search for them using OneSearch.

2) Find books

Many primary sources published by human development theorists have been placed on Course Reserve at the library.

  • Course reserves are located at the Circulation Desk
  • Materials are in-library use only, and can be checked out for 2-hours (one at a time)
  • OneSearch will let you know if there are also digital copies on

See also HD Developmental Theorists (Summary of Resources)

3) Find articles

  • Some theorists have published primary sources within scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Use OneSearch or PsycNET (on the Articles tab) to find articles published by your theorist. 
    • Use the ‘Author’ dropdown.
    • Include keywords for theory.
      Examples: adulthood, attachment, racial identity, family
  • Citation chaining. Use the References page of a related article to find original research by your theorist.
    Uncheck “Full Text Articles” for ILL options
  • Accessing articles
    • Some articles will be available electronically via full-text access
    • Other articles may be available in print serials in the library
    • Other articles may only be available via Interlibrary Loan

Ask a librarian if you need help!

Strategies to Improve Search Results

1) Use keywords instead of long sentences

Search with question/statement: How is artificial intelligence used to show sponsored ads in Facebook

>> Returns very few, highly irrelevant results.

Instead, search 2 - 3 concepts at a time derived from your research question:

artificial intelligence


social media


2) Put search terms into 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:

Onesearch Advanced Search

3) Search Essentials

Use Boolean Operators to separate terms and add relevant ones. 

  • AND - Limits your search (fewer results) by combining search terms
  • OR - Expands your search (more results) by including synonyms and related terms
  • NOT - Limits your search (fewer results) by excluding irrelevant keywords
  • Use drop down menus when you are searching for a specific author, title, publication, or subject heading for more precise searching.

Phrase searching

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


  • 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 


OneSearch showing quotes and boolean operators

4) Search Limiters (left side menu)

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

  • Available Online - shows only web-based content that Eckerd as access to
  • Peer-reviewed Journals - shows only articles published in peer-reviewed journals, whether we have access to them or not
  • Open Access - shows resources that should be available to anyone
  • Available in the Library - shows only books and ebooks that the library has access to

Others to consider:

  • Resource Type - to limit by format (e.g. book, journal, video)
  • Date - to set range of years
  • Location - for specific location in library
  • Collection - for specific database the library subscribes to

5) OneSearch tools make your life easier 

  • Email results
  • Pin/Add item to Favorites
  • Cite - choose your format!
  • URL - persistent URL for sharing/going back to articles