To Find Articles, you may have to search a number of different databases, depending on the type of theological, philosophical, social science (communication, psychology, sociology), education, and/or health sciences research you are looking for or think likely to prove relevant. For a starter-list of the disciplines in question and the principal SPU indices to the literature in any one of them, see the boxes below. See also the subject guides at the University of Washington.
Note that in addition to searching them separately (which is the most effective way to search by official subject heading or descriptor, as distinguished from keyword), you can also search more than one EBSCOhost database simultaneously on the one hand, and more than one ProQuest database simultaneously on the other. For more information on how to do this, see All of the Above and More Besides (Indices Multidisciplinary).
Start with Communication and Mass Media Complete.
The Communication and Mass Media Complete Thesaurus is here (and the same is true for all of the other EBSCOhost databases below, unless otherwise specified):
Academic Search Complete, Research Library Complete, JSTOR, Google Scholar, and others, cover many different fields of study simultaneously, though not usually as well in any one given field as the discipline-specific indices listed above.
Note also that all EBSCOhost databases (the bulk of those listed above), and all ProQuest databases (Sociological Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, Research Library Complete, etc.), can be searched simultaneously (though that is not the most effective way to search any given one of them by official subject heading or descriptor). See the screenshots below:
Searching more than one EBSCOhost database simultaneously:
Searching more than one ProQuest database simultaneously:
Pick the best database(s). Ask yourself "Which academic disciplines seem likely to be the most interested in the topic I've chosen as I plan to approach it?" If you use a multidisciplinary database, or opt to search two or more databases simultaneously, don't begin with the Subject field, for the simple reason that official subject headings or descriptors can vary from discipline to discipline, and database to database.
Try the phraseology used by Dr. Drovdahl, placing it in the Title or the keyword (EBSCOhost: Select a Field; ProQuest: Anywhere) field. Use quotation marks (" ") to hold a phrase together as a phrase. Don't enter it in a Subject field until you know that it is indeed an official subject heading or descriptor in (all of) the database(s) you've chosen. Then analyze your results. Watch for (and keep track of) official Subject headings of particular relevance. (These some databases will automatically suggest.)
You may wish to exclude Dissertations from your results,
or (by selecting either Linked Full Text or SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIV under Advanced Search, or both) limit your search to material available via SPU:
Then break the concept down into clusters, and supply synonyms. "Faith development", for example, might conceivably be broken down into
An asterisk (*) would ensure that all forms of the word after that point (religio*) are returned (religion(s), religious, religiosity, etc.), and one would enter each cluster (separated by ORs) into a different box, link the boxes via ANDs, analyze oness results, and watch for (and keep track of) any additional official Subject headings of particular relevance.
I give that last breakdown as an illustration of the principle only. That particular search is, however, ineffective, at least in PsycINFO. It broadens the search too much, and thus introduces too many hits unrelated to the specific concept of "faith development".
So at this point I would try another database, in this case the ATLA Religion Database, where, as it turns out, "Faith development" is (as in the book catalog) an official Subject heading. Thus, whereas "Faith development" returns only about 120 hits in the TI Title field and none in the DE Subject field of PsycINFO, it returns over 90 in the TI Title but more than 800 hits in the SU Subjects field of the ATLA Religion Database, over 270 of those in English located in Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals:
Then try something similar, but using the official Subject headings you've identified:
Then try the Thesaurus:
Experiment. For example, use the Title or keyword fields and Subject fields simultaneously, as appropriate.
PsycINFO allows you to delimit by age group:
For more information from the two major database vendors used by SPU, namely EBSCOhost and ProQuest, see: