35 Current Research

Finding Current Research

Recall the strategies for investigating or following a scholarly conversation. These are the strategies David used to find new research on PTSD.

Get Recommendation from Knowledgeable Person

David wants to learn more about what the academic literature says about PTSD.

The psychology librarian helps him locate “PTSD: A Review of the Literature” published in 2001. This review has a nice outline of the scholarly conversation throughout the 20th century. From this David learns:

  • The influence of Rivers’ work
  • Different terms were popular at different times

Search Author + Keywords

David read “Psychiatry and the War” by Rivers, which was published in 1919. He found it interesting and now wants to locate material discussing Rivers’ work. By combining keywords from the article with Rivers’ name, he locates a book and several articles published within the last couple of years.

For the newest articles, the subject is the expression of trauma in literature. For example, one article he found was “Shell Shock, Memory, and the Novel in the Wake of World War I” by Dodman (2015).

Control the Vocabulary

Controlling the vocabulary is useful in special circumstances. David has learned that during the 1940s there were important changes in the way PTSD was treated. He wants to research the treatments used in the 1940s . David searches for PTSD and filters the results for items published before 1945 . He finds almost nothing.

The problem is that the term PTSD was first used in 1982 .

The terms used in the 40s were combat fatigue or the older term shell shock . He needs to use these terms along with a date filter to get articles that were current in the 40s.

Identify a Journal

David is interested in keeping up to date on any new discussion on PTSD treatments. After searching a database for articles on PTSD treatment, he finds these three journals have each published more than a dozen articles in the last year.

  • Journal of Traumatic Stress
  • European Journal of Psychotraumatology
  • Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Following any one of these will help keep David up to date.

Set Up an Alert

David was fascinated with the statistics and findings in this article from 2006: “Reconciling Disparate Prevalence Rates of PTSD in Large Samples of US Male Vietnam Veterans and Their Controls.”

When it comes to the prevalence of PTSD, he wants to know whenever any new scholarly articles are published.

In October he set up an alert in a library database using this search string:

“prevalence rates” AND PTSD AND combat

In December he received an email about this new article:

“The Effect of Enemy Combat Tactics on PTSD Prevalence Rates: A Comparison of Operation Iraqi Freedom Deployment Phases in a Sample of Male and Female Veterans.” (26)

Putting It All Together

In this module, you were introduced to the idea of scholarly conversations, strategies for investigating a scholarly conversation, and followed how scholarly conversation can change over time. Now, check your understanding of scholarly conversations. (1)

Self Check

Read the questions below and select the best answer.

1. Listed below is an article published in 1978. Imagine that you have identified it as an excellent source for your research.

Schlosberg, A., & Benjamin, M. (1978). Sleep patterns in three acute combat fatigue cases. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry , 39, 546–549.

What strategies would help you find more recent research?

  1. Search Author + KeywordsCorrect! Searching author names plus keywords will find other articles written by these authors and articles written by others that reference the authors.
  2. Set Up an AlertIncorrect! Setting up an alert is a strategy for publications from the current date into the future, not in the past.
  3. Control the VocabularyCorrect! Controlling the vocabulary means using the appropriate search term for the topic and time frame. This article is over 30 years old. By now there may be new terms for this topic.

2. In what way does setting up an alert in a database contribute to your research? You are notified when:

  1. Someone else creates an alert on your topic.Incorrect!
  2. Your name has been searched.Incorrect!
  3. New articles are published on your research topic.Correct!

3. A scholarly conversation has a starting and ending date.

  1. TrueIncorrect!
  2. False (26)Correct!

In Summary

Scholarly conversations occur over long periods. Perceptions of the topic change. Sometimes even the terminology changes, as shown in the example of post‑traumatic stress disorder.

In this module, you learned some characteristics of scholarly conversations and several strategies that help you find the recent research in the conversation. Depending on the situation, one or two strategies will produce better results. Use your understanding of scholarly conversations and the strategies to locate current research to follow conversations that interest you.


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