If you're interested in stocks paying dividend income but don't know where to start searching, one idea is to look at what the "big money" is buying.

Big money investors, or institutional investors, include hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, and pension managers, among others. These investors have access to sophisticated research and often have a lot of experience in investing. For these reasons, the market closely watches which stocks they decide to purchase.

Dividend investing
Institutional interest aside, it's still important to do your own research when it comes to any stock investment. For dividend stocks, two important things to keep in mind are the dividend yield and the payout ratio.

A high dividend yield (i.e., dividend/stock price) can mean a lot of things -- it can mean a handsome dividend (the best scenario), a falling stock price, or an unsustainably high dividend. To avoid potential value traps, we screen for dividend yields under 7%.

The payout ratio (i.e., dividend/EPS) is also important to consider. If a company's dividend is a big share of its earnings, its dividend may be unsustainably high. We screen for payout ratios under 50%.

The list
Incorporating these ideas, we ran a screen on high dividend yield stocks, with dividend yields between 4%-7%. We then screened for payout ratios under 50%.

Lastly, we screened for stocks seeing significant net institutional buying over the current quarter, expressed as a percent of share float.

Do you agree with hedge funds' optimism for these names? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net institutional purchases as a percent of share float. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM): Provides wireless telecommunications services using code division multiple access (CDMA) and wide-band CDMA technologies. Market cap of $9.54B. Dividend yield at 5.33%, payout ratio at 48.82%. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 89.2M, which is 24.41% of the company's 365.43M share float.

2. TIM Participacoes (NYSE: TSU): Provides mobile telecommunications services through global system mobile (GSM) technology to business and individual customers in Brazil. Market cap of $5.87B. Dividend yield at 5.30%, payout ratio at 17.96%. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 11.1M, which is 10.00% of the company's 110.95M share float.

3. Ternium (NYSE: TX): Engages in manufacturing and processing a range of flat and long steel products for construction, home appliances, capital goods, container, food, energy, and automotive industries. Market cap of $3.65B. Dividend yield at 4.12%, payout ratio at 10.31%. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.3M, which is 4.71% of the company's 48.88M share float.

4. Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR): Engages in the manufacture and marketing of home appliances worldwide. Market cap of $3.73B. Dividend yield at 4.10%, payout ratio at 39.71%. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.8M, which is 3.69% of the company's 75.98M share float.

5. Communications Systems (NYSE: JCS): Manufactures and sells modular connecting and wiring devices, and media and rate conversion products. Market cap of $120.95M. Dividend yield at 4.20%, payout ratio at 40.17%. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 112.8K, which is 1.98% of the company's 5.70M share float

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Kapitall's Alexander Crawford does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.