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BC422 Problems & Procedures Profile: Search Strategies

Research Strategies for gathering thorough information on counseling issues.

Counseling Issues Research Strategies

Presenting Problem

To create an Holistic picture containing Alternate Definitions, Symptoms, Common Characteristics; Related Tendencies, Imbedded Sociological Factors, and Embodied Physiological Factors, use these resources:
  • Merck Manuals -- an excellent comprehensive medical resource used by professionals since 1899.  Provides the best information on current medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, cases and audio/visual resources.  Contains both a professional version and a consumer version.
  • Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms (025.49 T343t)
  • DSMV -- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (616.89 D54a)
  • General English Dictionaries: Search Google for the topic or use these: Merriam-WebsterOxford DictionariesWiktionaryLongman Dictionary 
  • Encyclopedias & Dictionaries of Psychology (150.3).  These can also be found by searching the Powell Library Catalog using the following search query:

>su:(encyclopedias OR dictionaries) AND su:(psych*) AND (x0:book)

This search query is in effect commanding the search engine to look in the Subject field (su:) of all the records in the catalog for either the term "encyclopedias" or the term "dictionaries".  The Subject field must also have some form of the word "psych" and all the results must be a book, either print or electronic.

NOTE: OR/AND must be in all caps (they are Boolean Operators); encyclopedias/dictionaries must be plural.

TIP: Whenever applying the OR operator in a Discovery catalog search query, always put it first in the search string.

"Holistic" comes from the Greek ὅλος, (olos (ahlos)) and means whole, entire, complete.


Last updated October, 2018.


Popular Psychologies & Counseling Process

To find significant methodologies, theories, and philosophies contributing to a clinical psychological understanding of the issue, use the Powell Library Discovery Catalog:
A. Search the topic as a subject or a keyword.  Like this:
>su:social anxiety disorder
B. To focus the search results use the Refining filters to the left of the results list to (see image below)
Limit to Peer Reviewed (articles)
Limit by Date
Limit by Language
C. To find philosophies of the issue add a truncated form of "philosophy" to the search query.  Like this:
>su:self-injury philos*
D. To find actual case studies providing methodologies and theories of a counseling issue, add these Keywords/Phrases:              
•“case study”
•“case reports”
•“case description”
For example: You could devise a search query like this:
>su:bipolar disorder AND "case reports";
>su:postpartum depression AND method*
NOTE:  Be sure to put phrases in quotation marks.
NOTE:  The asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol (meaning to cut off) commanding the search engine to look for the root word and every variation thereafter.  For instance, philos* will retrieve:  philosophy, philosopher, philosophers, philosophies, philosophical.
NOTE: su: is the metadata field code commanding the Discovery search engine to look only in the Subject Field of each record in the catalog.
Last updated February 2023.

Biblical Paradigm

Use the following search strategies in the Powell Library Discovery Catalog to obtain resources that can be used in developing a cumulative biblical understanding of the presenting problem.  

1. To find resources that will assist in re-interpreting popular psychologies from a biblical perspective, add "christianity" as well as "biblical" or even a truncated form of biblical i.e., "bibl*" to any subject search.  Like this:

>su:antisocial personality disorders christianity

>su:domestic abuse biblical

>su:grief bibl*

TIP:  The use of "christianity" in a subject search frequently retrieves more useful resources than the term "biblical".  Never-the-less, be sure to use both.

TIP:  The use of "bibl*" will retrieve some bibliographies, but not very many; it's often worth using the truncated form to retrieve records with either "bible" or "biblical" in the subject.

2. For resources discussing an indicative biblical perspective add "practical theology" to any subject search.  Like this:

>schizophrenia AND su:practical theology

3. For resources discussing an imperative biblical perspective add "doctrinal theology" to any subject search.  Like this:

>fatigue AND su:doctrinal theology

4. For resources discussing a variety of theological perspectives add "theology" to any subject search search.  Like this:

> gender dysphoria AND su:theology

Theological Encyclopedias & Dictionaries are additional sources for acquiring a cumulative biblical understanding of the presenting problem.  These can be found using the following search query:

>su:encyclopedias OR dictionaries AND su:theology AND (x0:book)

TIP: Whenever applying the OR operator in a Discovery catalog search query, always put it first in the search string.

Bible Encyclopedias & Dictionaries may also prove useful in obtaining a cumulative biblical understanding of some of the presenting problems.  These can be found using the following search query:

su:encyclopedias OR dictionaries AND su:bible AND (x0:book)

Bible Commentaries and Criticisms are very good sources for a biblical and theological understanding of the presenting problems.  These are easily found by adding the term "commentaries" or "criticism" to a subject search for the book of the bible in question.  Like this:

>su:proverbs commentaries 

>su:thessalonians criticism 

NOTE: For the above search queries to work, "commentaries" must be plural and "criticism" must be singular.

Bible commentaries are arranged on the shelf in the same order as they appear in the Bible: 220-229; 222-224 O.T.; 225-229 N.T..  For additional information on how to find commentaries, use the Find Commentaries & Criticisms box in the Biblical Studies Resources Research Guide.

NOTE:  Be sure to capitalize the ORs and the ANDs in a complex search query as they function as Boolean operators not words;

NOTE:  The "0" in (x0:book) is the number zero.

NOTE:  The whole phrase (x0:book) is the metadata command to find only books (print or electronic) thus eliminating book reviews (articles) about encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Abstract & Bibliography

I.  Bibliography -- For help with paper mechanics and citing sources use:

 A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers by Kate L. Turabian. 9th ed.  Revised by Wayne C. Booth,  Gregory G. Colomb, University of Chicago Press Staff, Joseph M. Williams. ISBN: 978022643057. Call Number: 808.02 T84m)

Or the original The Chicago Manual of Style now available online 

You may also want to consult the Research Guide: Style Guides Chicago/Turabian for tips and examples  

Also, please feel free to consult Miss T. with questions or to verify the accuracy of your bibliography:


II. Abstracts -- 

An abstract is a brief summary of a research article, thesis, or in-depth analysis of a subject.  It is used to help the reader quickly ascertain the paper's purpose. The informative abstract summarizes the paper's structure, its major topics and key points.  The descriptive abstract provides a description of what the paper covers without delving into its substance. A descriptive abstract is akin to a table of contents in paragraph form.

In academic literature the abstract is used to succinctly communicate complex research and typically outlines four elements relevant to the completed work:

  • The research focus or thesis statement (i.e. statement of the problem(s)/research issue(s) addressed);
  • The research methods used (experimental research, case studies, etc.);
  • The results/findings of the research; 
  • The main conclusions and recommendations

The abstract always appears at the beginning of an academic paper and is typically 100 to 500 words in length.  However, for this assignment the abstract should be 250-350 words.

For additional help with writing an abstract see:

Koltay, Tibor. Abstracts and Abstracting : A Genre and Set of Skills for the Twenty-First Century. Chandos Information Professional Series. Burlington: Elsevier Science, 2010.


Last updated January, 2021.