Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Search Strategies

There are a variety of methods for tracking down relevant research on a topic. Each will be briefly outlined in the next three sections. Each of the strategies outlined in these sections has advantages and disadvantages. Relying too much on any one strategy creates real problems, because it is likely to provide you with limited information, and more importantly, information that is likely to be biased.

We will illustrate the process of finding a broad group of research studies on a given topic with an example drawn from the current literature. We will follow the search for information about a topic selected on the basis of a current published study. 

To make the example more realistic, we will walk you through every step, including the ones that turned out to be dead ends. We will discuss the logic of each step and show you examples of the output from our search. Much of the search was done on computerized databases, so the output is actual web pages from these database searches. 

Although our example starts with a particular paper, the procedures that we use in our search can be applied to any starting point. We have chosen to start with a specific paper on a topic, because most students get their ideas for research from an interesting paper that they have read.

The starting point for this literature search is a paper by Becker and his colleagues, which appeared in the February, 1999 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. The complete reference to this paper is listed below. This paper deals with the topic of explicit memory in anxiety disorders. Our goal is to identify a set of background papers on this topic, narrow our search to a specific topic, and then obtain all the background reading on that topic and the necessary related topics to permit the design of a research study. The next three sections of this tutorial will walk you through this process.

Becker, E. S., Roth, W. T., Andrich, M., & Margraf, J. (1999). Explicit memory in anxiety disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 153-163.


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