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HSERV 182 Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Family - Jazwinski: Search Strategy

Your Assignment

You will be researching the impact of alcohol and other drug addictions on other family members and the counseling of those other members for the resulting problems (not how family members can help or support their addicted loved ones). You will need to use professional addiction literature sources such as books or peer-reviewed journals. These articles need to have been published within the past 10 years.

Depending on which Term Project option you choose, you may wish to write about a specific addiction; relationship type; ethnic group; age group or focus your topic in another way.

You will find complete project details and due dates in your course shell in BlackBoard.

I: Choose your Topic

To develop your paper topic, start with a broad topic and narrow it down. Pose your topic in the form of a question you will try and answer in your paper. If you are unsure what to write about, do an article search on your main topic and see what scholars have been focusing on.


Topic: Alcohol Abuse

+  Family members: spouse

+  Subtopic: coping

Paper Topic:

 What coping mechanisms do spouses of alcoholics use?



Topic 2: Alcohol Abuse

+  Family member: children

+  Sub topic (school behavior)


Paper Topic 2:

  Are children of alcoholics more prone to behavior problems in school?

II: Find your Keywords

Now that you have a topic, pick out the key words you will use to find your sources. Do no use whole sentences when searching the databases or library catalog.


How does parental alcohol abuse effect children?


                       parents  -  alcohol abuse   -   children


III: Create a Search Statement

Key Terms: alcohol abuse, children, effects

Synonyms: Find words that mean the same or something similar to your original keywords. They may be a little broader or narrower in topic:

Alcohol Abuse: drinking, alcoholism, binge drinking, substance abuse 

Children: offspring, adolescent, adult children

or "Children of Alcoholics" or "Alcoholic parents"

Effect: impact, adjustment, development, behavior, coping

Because this project is not focused on the addict, but other family members,  you may want to include additional search terms to find articles about the relationship between the addict and family members, such as:

Relationship,  family, families, interpersonal relations, parent-child relations, couples therapy, parent support, etc.


Truncate: Use an asterisk * to find various endings of a word.

Alcohol* will find Alcohol; Alcoholism; Alcoholic etc.

Phrase search (use quotes): Put quotation marks around phrases to keep words together:

"children of alcoholics" "alcohol abuse" "children of drug addicts"


Combine words using AND:

"Children of alcoholics" AND relationship*

"Children of alcoholics" AND development

"Children of alcoholics" AND effects


Use OR to broaden your search terms:

Alcoholism OR drinking OR "alcohol abuse"