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PSY 493--Researching your topic on the Biology of Mammalian Social Behavior: Finding Scientific Articles

Scientific Literature Databases

To find scientific articles, search a scientific literature database like the ones below:

Tips for getting the most out of searches;

  1. Put in simple search terms or two-word search terms together using the word AND.  This works much better than entering long phrases.
  2. Always check the date of the articles you retrieve to make sure you are getting the most recent research.
  3. Look first for review articles.  This will provide summary and background to help you understand the field.  There are instructions how to do this for each database. 
  4. If you're getting a lot of results, try doing an Advanced search.  Tell it to search for your search terms in the Title of the article.  Or put limits on your search by date or English language. 
  5. These are an abstract databases, not full text.  To find the full text or articles, follow instructions for each database below. 

Example search:  evolution AND social behavior


PubMed:  Use for biomedical topics .

Find Review articles by refining your search at the right hand side of the page.

Look for green spartan buttons indicating electronic version is available through MSU. These only appear if you access PubMed through this guide or the MSU Libraries site. If this doesn't work, then try the Find Text @MSU link next to it. 


Web of Science:  Use for any kind of science or psychology topic.  Good for finding materials that may cross over between psychology and medicine/biology. 

Find Review articles by refining your search at the left hand side of the page.  See Review under "Document Type". 

For full text, click on the Find Text @  MSU or the Full Text button.  If one doesn't work, try the other.


Google Scholarcovers all subject areas and may find you very different results from PubMed and Web of Science. 

Change to "sort by date" for newer articles.

See guide for reasons why Google Scholar differs from PubMed and Web of Science.


PsycInfo:  Use for searching psychology journals (as opposed to medical or biological).

There's not a good way to find Review articles in PsycInfo.  I suggest just looking for journal articles. 

You may need to change the sort from "relevance" to "newest first".

Full Text:  Use the Find Text@MSU link to get to the full text.  Many times this will take you to the article directly.  Sometimes it will take you through an intermediate page with a link to search the MSU Libraries catalog.  Click on this link to search our catalog to see if we have the journal either electronically or in hardcopy. 


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