Health and Well-Being

Course Instructor: 

Rachel Burns

Searching the catalogue

The catalogue holds information about all the resources that we have, either physically or electronically, including books, journals, maps, government information, computer games, board games.  Access the catalogue from the "catalogue" link in the upper right hand corner of the Library's home pageHelp for searching the catalogue can be found by following the "search help" link directly below the data entry area for the catalogue.


You can search information about most of our databases, including the catalogue, using the Summon discovery layerFor help with Summon, click on the link entitled "More about Summon" directly below the data entry area for Summon.

After you receive search results, you can filter the results using the menus on the left side.  In particular, when looking for articles, consider restricting to peer-review and scholarly.  Under the Discipline heading, restrict to psychology.  Under the Subject Terms heading, restrict to your topic areas as appropriate.  Under Language, choose languages that you can read.

Journal articles databases

There are many ways to find appropriate databases.

  1. Consider suggestions from subject guides (on the Library home page, under Research, click on Subject Guides):
    1. Psychology quick guide
    2. Psychology detailed guide
    3. Cognitive Science quick guide
  2. Consider suggestions from the databases page (on the Library home page, under the Summon data entry area, Go directly to: Databases) where the databases have been tagged by subject (pick Psychology from the list).
  3. Consider suggestions from course guides (like this one, or from Psychology course guides) such as:
    1. PsycINFO
    2. Scopus
    3. CINAHL Database

Keyword searching

Database searching is NOT like Google!  Most do not support natural language searching.  You have to be precise in the words that you select.

Simple concepts

You can always search simple concepts with single keywords, such as stress.

Combining concepts

If you want to combine concepts, join them together using the operators AND and OR.

  • Use AND when the concepts are not related such as stress AND coping.  This narrows the search as both of those words must be in the information that is being returned.
  • Use OR when the concepts are similar, and it does not matter which word is found in the information that is being returned.  For instance, stress OR anxiety. This broadens the search.


Use truncation when you want to allow for several spellings or variations on a word. For instance, psychol* can stand for psychology, psychological, psychologists...

Key phrases

Key phrases are groups of words that always appear together.  Enclose key phrases in double quotation marks.  For example, "mental health".

There is a difference between results where the words occur together in a record and where the words appear separately in an unspecified location throughout the record: it is much more likely that your results will be about your topic if they appear together as a phrase.  See for yourself!  Try mental health in the catalogue, both with and without the quotation marks.

Putting it all together

You can combine all of these strategies to make more complex searches.  Remember that since databases evaluate searches from left to right, it is a good idea to use brackets to distinguish which terms represent which concepts.

For instance:

  • wellbeing OR "well-being"
    will return information that includes either of these terms
  • stress AND (wellbeing OR "well-being")
    will return information that includes both concepts: stress as well as one of the terms that represents wellbeing
  • stress AND (wellbeing OR "well-being") AND psychol*

Refining your searches

Let your search results tell you how to refine your searches.

  1. Do you see any expressions that would make good search terms?
  2. Look at good candidate articles to see what subject headings have been used, and try doing searches as subject headings (rather than as keywords).

Choosing good resources

Citing your sources

Consult our citation guides for help with APA citation.

Content last reviewed: October 19, 2018