Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Tips on Searching the Network

If you wish to add SPN's search capability to your own web site, please see the SPN Search Box. For a step-by-step guide on searching the Network, please see the table below.

StepDescription Example: Social Psychology at Stanford
1.Type some words that are likely to be found only in the web pages you seek. stanford psychology department social
2.Enclose any phrases in quotation marks (otherwise, each word will be searched separately). stanford "psychology department" social
3.Capitalize any proper nouns. Stanford "psychology department" social
4.Use AND (in capital letters) to indicate required terms. Stanford AND "psychology department" AND social
5.Use a minus sign (-) to eliminate any undesired terms from the search. Stanford AND "psychology department" AND social -prison
6.Click the search button to get your results.  

Additional tips on searching:

  1. If you are using a minus sign (-) search operator, note that there is a space before the operator, but no space between the operator and the search term.
  2. If you get too many results:

    • Be sure that all phrases are enclosed in quotation marks
    • Add an unusual word or phrase that is specific to the searched topic
    • Capitalize titles, names, and other proper nouns when appropriate
    • Use a minus sign (-) to exclude undesired terms

  3. If you get too few results:

    • Check your spelling to rule out typographical errors
    • Add more search terms (e.g., Zimbardo in the example above)
    • Add synonyms or alternate spellings (e.g., Phil Philip Phillip)
    • Use lowercase search terms (if a query is all in lowercase, case is ignored)

  4. If, after trying to increase the output of a search, you still get too few results, try searching the Internet with Google or another search engine.

  5. If you are looking for the answer to a question, search for answer phrases (e.g., "the deadline is") rather than question phrases (e.g., "when is the deadline for").

How the Social Psychology Network search works:

Each week a fresh database is compiled from the text of all web pages listed in Social Psychology Network. When you type in a search term, the customized search engine of Social Psychology Network reads through the compiled text of all linked pages and locates any web pages on which the desired term appears. This way, you are assured of high-quality search results even when the content of linked web pages changes over time.

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