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PAM 3120 / SOC 3150: Research Design, Policy and Practice (Fall 2014): Searching the Literature

Finding Full-Text Articles

Use the Get it! Cornell links wherever you see them!

If you have citations for specific articles, check the Library Catalog to see if we subscribe to the journal that contains the article. The Catalog will show whether or not we have access to the electronic version and/or the print version. Note that this catalog also searches WorldCat, a database of library holdings from around the world.  So if the Cornell library collection doesn't have what you're looking for, this catalog will tell you who does, and link you to Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan options (see below).

If we don't have it, we can get it for you for free in a few days! Request materials through Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan by clicking the Request Item button.

Reference librarians are here to help you - so please contact us with any questions!

Off-Campus Access to Full-Text

If you're off-campus and want access to full-text, you can either go to the resource via the library website or use the hand PASSKEY tool. Using either method, you will be prompted to log in with your netID and password to gain access to our licensed resources.

Types of scholarly literature

You will encounter many types of articles and it is important to distinguish between these different categories of scholarly literature.  Keep in mind the following definitions.

Peer-reviewed (or refereed):  Refers to articles that have undergone a rigorous review process, often including revisions to the original manuscript, by peers in their discipline, before publication in a scholarly journal.  This can include empirical studies, review articles, meta-analyses among others.

Empirical study (or primary article):  An empirical study is one that aims to gain new knowledge on a topic through direct or indirect observation and research.  These include quantitative or qualitative data and analysis. In science, an empirical article will often include the following sections:  Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion.

Review article:  In the scientific literature, this is a type of article that provides a synthesis of existing research on a particular topic.  These are useful when you want to get an idea of a body of research that you are not yet familiar with.  It differs from a systematic review in that it does not aim to capture ALL of the research on a particular topic.

Systematic review:  This is a methodical and thorough literature review focused on a particular research question.  It's aim is to identify and synthesize all of the scholarly research on a particular topic in an unbiased, reproducible way to provide evidence for practice and policy-making.  It may involve a meta-analysis (see below). 

Meta-analysis:  This is a type of research study that combines or contrasts data from different independent studies in a new analysis in order to strengthen the understanding of a particular topic.  There are many methods, some complex, applied to performing this type of analysis.


The Research Question

How do parenting skills and behaviors vary by socioeconomic status?

Useful Databases

Searching Databases

Boolean SearchingMost databases allow the use of AND, OR and NOT to broaden or narrow and search. 

  • AND will narrow the search to include only records with both terms. 
  • OR with broaden the search to include records with either term.
  • NOT will narrow the search to exclude records with one of the terms.

Truncation:  You can use an * at the end of a word stem to broaden your search to include related terms.  For example, to search for child, children or childhood use the search term child*

Putting quotes "" around words allows you to search for a phrase.  For example, searching language development, without quotes, finds records with both the word 'language' and 'development' somewhere in the record.  Searching "language development", with quotes, only find records with the phrase "language development".


Example: How does bilingualism affect language development in children?



NOTE:  When you begin doing advanced searching in a new database, look for the Help or Information sections to determine how that database works, and how it may differ from other databases with which you are familiar.

The value of citation searching

An excellent way of discovering new and relevant resources is to use the articles that you have already identified as important works in you search.  The articles and resources in the references or bibliography can point you to other relevant sources that were published prior to the article of interest. 

But how do you find more recent articles that have used and cited the article of interest in their work?


Web of Science is a database of scholarly literature that also tracks citations and allows citation searching.  In the search results window you can:


Keywords and Concepts

Parental Socioeconomic Status:

Socioeconomic status

Socioeconomic differences

Parental education


Social class


Working class

Middle class



Socioeconomic disadvantage

Parenting behavior:

Parenting behavior


Parenting practices

Parent-child interactions

Parent-child relationship

Parent participation

Maternal behavior

Parent-adolescent interactions

Parenting skills



Parenting knowledge

Parenting style

Parental time with children

Maternal time with children

Parental time use

Maternal time use




Social support

Parenting stress

In-Class Activity

Go to one of four databases (Web of Science, Google Scholar, Sociological Abstracts, PsycInfo).  Take a few moments to consider the following:
What does the database contain? (i.e., what subject areas does it cover, what kind of bibliographic information or what types of resources, does it search full text or not)
 How are search terms entered?  Does it recognize truncation and phrase-searching?  Look at the advanced search options or refer to help pages and turtorials offered within the database.
 What are the limits options (before you press "Search")?
 What are the refinement options (after you press "Search")?
 What special tools does the database have to aid your search?
Create an appropriate search string using truncation, phrase searching and Boolean operators (and, or, not) and search the database using those terms.  Use limits and refine terms to broaden and narrow your search.
Identify one relevant research article.
Make a note of new keywords based on what you found in your search (ie, from subject terms, Author's keywords, etc). 
Experiment with the exporting tools to save a citation of your article.
If you have time, use Web of Science or Google Scholar to locate articles that have cited this article.

Web Accessibility Assistance