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PSY 347 Animal Behavior Lab

Students working on laptops in mezzanine.Forming your Search String

The more complicated your question, the less likely a search engine can understand it. To get the best result, identify keywords and like terms to create a search string.

Example research question: How does training reduce aggressive behavior in dogs?

Keywords: Behavior training, aggressive behavior, dogs

Like terms can include synonyms and also examples of your keywords. If you don't get results from searching your keywords, it doesn't mean that the research doesn't exist. It could mean that the researcher used different language to describe the same topic

  • Training: positive reinforcement, behavior modification
  • Aggressive behavior: animal aggressive behavior, threat postures, animal dominance, territoriality
  • Dogs: canine, retrievers, shih tzu

Search strings connect your keywords and like terms together for the best results.

Too many results? Use AND to narrow results

aggressive behavior AND training AND dogs

Too few results? Use OR to broaden results

aggressive behavior OR threat posture OR territoriality AND training OR positive reinforcement AND dog OR canine

students reading in front of periodical display

Also known as peer-reviewed articles, scholarly articles are sources that are:

  • written by experts in the field
  • reviewed by other experts in the field (hence the peer-reviewed)
  • intended for an academic audience

While you can find scholarly articles through general search engines, databases contain a feature where you can narrow your results to only scholarly articles.

Find Subject-Specific Articles:

Find Articles in Multidisciplinary Databases:

Student thumbing through a book in front of library stacks

Books and eBooks often provide a broader overview and cover more information than a scholarly journal article.

You don't need to read an entire book to use it in your research. Use the index at the back of a book to find the information you need.

To find books and eBooks, you can either:

Search the NOBLE catalog

Or browse the stacks for a book related to your topic

  • QL750-795: Animal behavior
  • SF1-1100: Animal culture
  • BF660-685: Comparative psychology. Animal and human psychology

If you find an article or book that you can't access, don't pay for it! Instead, submit an Interlibrary Loan request, and you'll receive articles within a few days!

Are you looking for a specific article, like an article that you found referenced in a bibliography? Search for the journal in Journal Finder, linked below: