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Psychology: 4) Exploring Results

What do I look at first?

First you should consider how many results you have and how they are sorted. 

How many results should I have?

There is no exact answer for the number of results you would want, but it should be manageable. If you have hundreds or thousands of results, it's probably an indication that you need to revisit a previous step and either set additional limits or adjust your keywords. 

You can also start looking at some of the first results to see if they give you additional insight into your topic. The database is preset to sort by relevance which means that those items at the top of the list should theoretically be the "best" match for your topic. They are often a great place to find inspiration. 

What if the title isn't clear or doesn't give me enough information?

Don't judge an article by it's title alone. The blue hyperlink with the article title practically jumps off the page but there is a lot more content you should consider before deciding to use a source.

Click on the title hyperlink to open up it's record.

**Helpful Tip: If you're comfortable using multiple tabs, you can open the article records in new tabs to leave your results list up.

How do I tell if I should use an article as a source?

You'll want to consider at least a few of the following things:

Abstract: This is a brief summary of the article which will include results and key takeaways. You should always read an abstract before commiting to a source because it is the best tool to understanding the actual content of an article.

Subjects: Databases employ people called indexers who read articles and then code them using the controlled language of the database. If you find an article that seems good, you should check out the subjects it has assigned to discover possible keywords you can use for additional searches. 

Other things to consider

You can also consider the impact that an article has had when determining if you want to use it as a source. 

PlumX Metrixs: This little icon will show you how popular an article by the size of the various circles. It tracks how many people have downloaded the item or engaged with it using social media.

Cited References: Although not available for every article, you can also look to see if an article has links to the articles it has reference or has been cited by. This is an efficient way to find other additional sources.

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