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HDFS 1300 - Development of Contemporary Families

This guide is to help students in Human Development and Family Studies make use of library materials to support their studies

Search for Family Stressors

Searching for family stressors can be tricky. You're often looking at a nebulous concept that can't be contained in a single word or very short phrase, so you often have to use approximations to get at it and find the one that gives you the best return on your search. Below you'll find some tips on working out sample keywords to use in your searching.

Develop your keywords - Family Stressors example

If you have a topic like the one below, "Change in number of arguments with spouse" you'll want to take a moment to generate possible keywords. No matter what database or search engine you use, these will come in handy for making your search flexible and adaptable.

Brainstorm of possible terms for use in search "Change in the number of arguments"


With a topic like this, articles may compare levels of argumentation with each other, or track changes in those levels, which are 2 different questions. You could try adding things like change/increase/decrease if you're getting too much of the former. But keep in mind, these are very broad terms that could apply to MANY situations outside of the use you want.

Databases and searching

Sometimes, searching through EVERYTHING can hide some of the things you really need from you. If you haven't had much luck with OneSearch, try searching in the following to narrow your focus:

A. Taking the keywords you thought up, you can use one box for each distinct idea or concept.

B. Down on the left you'll be able to limit to Peer Reviewed/Scholarly materials, and also select date ranges (note: the date range shown will be the dates of your results INSIDE the range you specified in your search.

C. In this search, we only got 4 results.

D. By adding additional terms for one of our ideas, we can add additional results, even if the terms are fairly simple or obvious.


Screen shot of A, B, C in Family Studies Abstracts

Screen shot of D in Family Studies Abstracts