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PSYC 4250: Health Disparities: Psychological Perspectives & Solutions: Psychological & Economic Factors

Examining Factors Contributing to the Disparity

Once you have described your county's demographics and identified significant health disparities, the next step is to examine the psychological and economic factors associated with the disparity. The government resources you identified in the previous portion will help you understand factors that contribute to the disparity, as well as research articles.

Scholarly articles will also help you apply a psychological theory to the disparity and understand other factors contributing to it. Use the databases and techniques shown below to find this information. Try searching for: [your disparity] AND ("psychological factors" OR "economic factors") to get started.

Psychology Database Tutorial

Psychology Database

Click the button above to be taken to a Guide on the Side tutorial that will teach you how to search in the PsycINFO database.

Scopus Database Tutorial


Click the button above to be taken to a Guide on the Side tutorial that will teach you how to search the Scopus database.

E-Journal/E-Book Portal

Search Joyner Library's collection of online materials. 

InterLibrary Loan

Use InterLibrary Loan and Document Delivery services to request articles, books, media, and more from other libraries when ECU libraries do not have what you need.






Keywords are:

  • natural language terms that describe your topic
  • able to be combined in any number of ways
  • lacking consistency in usage, definition, and sometimes spelling (e.g. GERD vs. GORD[U.K.])
  • either single words or phrases
  • used to search for matching words or phrases anywhere in the records the database contains (such as title, abstract, journal title)
  • used when no appropriate subject heading exists as an equivalent
  • sometimes either too broad or too narrow, resulting in either too many or too few results
  • reflective of recent phenomena in advance of when the subject headings are added

Subject Headings

Subject Headings are:

  • “controlled” vocabulary used by an organization (e.g. the National Library of Medicine) to describe the concepts in the literature collected by that organization or database (such as MEDLINE or CINAHL).
  • Consistent in their definition across the records in the database.
  • Less flexible and must be chosen from the thesaurus used by the database; if the incorrect subject heading is selected, none of the results will be relevant.
  • Only searched for in the subject heading field of the record.
  • Helpful for retrieving a set of articles with fewer irrelevant results
  • Slow to change--this means that the most recent changes in knowledge--on diseases, drugs, devices, procedures, concepts--may not be reflected in the controlled vocabulary.

Which Should I Use?

The simple answer to the question of whether you should use keywords or subject headings is: it depends. Some basic guidelines are:

  • If the term or topic is very recent, keywords may be the best option
  • If no Subject Heading exists for your term, or seems inadequate, use a keyword
  • If the keyword is too vague or broad, a Subject Heading may help focus your search and eliminate too many results
    • e.g. neuroses would be a very broad keyword search
  • If you want a very comprehensive literature search, you should use both a keyword and a subject heading
    • e.g. Heart attack OR Myocardial Infarction

Exact Phrase Searching

To look for an exact phrase, use quotation marks (" ") around the keywords.


Personality Disorder

Note: this works in most search engines as well. If you type an exact phrase without quotations when doing a basic search, most search engines will look for each word separately. In this example, quotation marks are not used, and the search results in every search term in green also being retrieved.

Personality Disorder Animation

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Psychology Databases

The following are direct links to all of the subscription databases for ECU Libraries on the subject of Psychology.

Health and Human Performance Databases

The following are direct links to all of the subscription databases for ECU Libraries on the subject of EXSS.