Library Research in Psychology
Resources in psychology.
"I'm interested in the topic of dreaming, and I'd like to find an article on it. I'm not a psychologist, so I don't want anything that is too technical. Where can I find some easy-to-read articles that discuss research and topics in this area of psychology?"
APA receives many requests from individuals looking for general information on psychological topics. These topics include a wide range of issues, from ability tests for employees to research on drugs and the brain, school violence, the impact of AIDS on family members and the ways in which children learn. A variety of resources about psychology are available on the Internet or at any library, including books, journals, newspapers, pamphlets and electronic resources.
Many library resources may be available without leaving your home or office. Your topic can be easily located using the online catalog and Web-based indexes or subject guides and databases. The databases are generally listed by subject category and will help you find resources in a wide array of fields, including psychology.
You may want to review the following consumer health resources to familiarize yourself with the topic including Health and Wellness Resource Center, Health Source: Consumer Edition , WebMD . To consult the resources used by the medical research community, you will be able to access Medline, an abstracts database or PubMED , a database of publicly funded articles. These authoritative sources are produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Indexes such as the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature may also be available to point you to popular sources of information such as magazines and newspapers. A number of electronic resources may be available to you through your school or public library website; consult your reference librarian for step-by-step instruction.
Most large newspapers, such as The New York Times , The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal are searchable on the Internet. Access to an archive of previously published articles may be available for a nominal fee.
A topic search using one of the well-known Internet search engines, such as Google , Yahoo or Bing may also provide access to information from a variety of resources. Specific organizations that publish information on your topic area generally make information available on their website.
The American Psychological Association website is also a source for authoritative information and research tools in psychology. It also includes topics of interest to a wide audience such as ADHD , bipolar disorder , eating disorders , gun violence , learning and memory , PTSD , and more.
Note: Just because you find information does not mean that it is accurate. Be sure to consider the source of the information and its currency before using it for research.
APA often receives calls from students preparing for their first research assignment. Often instructors will suggest that classes visit the APA website , which is an excellent starting point and provides authoritative information on current topics and issues , press releases , reports , and position papers that can be helpful in selecting your topic. You can access both free and paid resources at the APA website.
Most major university libraries provide electronic access to bibliographic and full-text databases produced by APA. These resources include APA PsycInfo ® , an abstracts database; APA PsycArticles ® , full text of APA journal articles; APA PsycBooks ® , full-text books, book chapters and entries from the Encyclopedia of Psychology ; APA PsycExtra ® , research from outside the peer-reviewed publication; APA PsycTests ® , psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys and other assessments; and APA PsycTherapy ® , videos featuring therapy demonstration. APA also publishes a series of handbooks that provide in-depth information on a number of topics such as research methodologies.
These authoritative sources are used by research professionals, clinicians and mental health professionals worldwide. Some library catalogs also provide links to the full-text journal articles, and books or book chapters in the databases.
The databases let you search by general topics or keywords. You can consult the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms ® to find the most current terms in the literature. Consult your librarian for more information.
To become more familiar with the APA database products, visit the product pages to learn more about the publications covered, search tools and information on additional research products that may be of interest.
- APA Databases
- The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms
Which database is most appropriate for your search? The following descriptions will help you decide.
APA PsycInfo is an electronic bibliographic database that provides citations and abstracts to the scholarly literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health from the early 1800s to the present. Material of relevance to psychologists and professionals in related fields such as psychiatry, nursing, business, education, social science, neuroscience, law, medicine and social work is included in the database. APA PsycInfo covers journal titles, doctoral dissertations, authored and edited books, and chapters from edited books. Start your research by using APA PsycInfo.
- APA PsycInfo Facts
- APA PsycInfo Journal Coverage List
APA PsycArticles is a database of full-text articles from journals published by APA, the APA Educational Publishing Foundation, the Canadian Psychological Association and Hogrefe Publishing Group. The database includes all material from the print journals with the exception of ads and editorial board lists. APA PsycArticles currently covers peer-reviewed journals from 1894 to the present.
- APA PsycArticles Facts
- APA PsycArticles Journal Coverage List
APA PsycExtra, a companion to the scholarly APA PsycInfo database, supplies clinicians, information professionals, policymakers, researchers and consumers with a wide variety of credible information in psychology, behavioral science and health. Most of the coverage is material written for professionals and disseminated outside of peer-reviewed journals. Documents include newsletters, magazines, newspapers, technical and annual reports, government reports, consumer brochures and more. APA PsycExtra is different from APA PsycInfo in its coverage, and also in its format, because it includes abstracts and citations plus full text for a major portion of the records. There is no overlap with APA PsycInfo.
- APA PsycExtra Facts
- APA PsycExtra Content Providers List
APA PsycBooks is a full text database of scholarly titles published by APA Books. It includes current books published by APA and classic and out-of-print books. The database also provides access to the APA/Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of Psychology . APA PsycBooks contains the APA PsycInfo abstract and bibliographic records for books and chapters and the full text of the book, tables of contents and all introductory material.
- APA PsycBooks Facts
- APA PsycBooks Coverage List
APA PsycTests is a research database that provides access to psychological tests, measures, scales, surveys and other assessments as well as descriptive information about the test and its development and administration. APA PsycTests focuses primarily on unpublished tests, those developed by researchers but not made commercially available. Most records link to a variety of materials describing the test in peer-reviewed literature, technical reports or dissertations as well as links to related peer-reviewed literature describing test development, review or use. All records include a summary that describes the test, with its purpose and some history of its development. Most records include the actual test instrument.
- APA PsycTests Facts
- APA PsycTests FAQ
APA PsycTherapy is a database containing more than 300 videos featuring therapy demonstrations showing clinicians working with individuals, couples and families. APA PsycTherapy features more than 200 different topics covered throughout hundreds of hours of filmed demonstrations utilizing a wide range of approaches. The database contains only unscripted, spontaneous therapy sessions taped in the last 10 years. APA PsycTherapy is a highly flexible tool with synchronized, searchable transcripts that enhance user navigation and access and provides users the ability to tag segments of each therapy demonstration to create, save or share personal playlists.
- APA PsycTherapy Facts
- APA PsycTherapy FAQs
APA Handbooks in Psychology ®
Titles within the APA Handbooks in Psychology Series are ideal resources for libraries and institutions—these reference books provide a one-stop shop for both overviews and in-depth analyses of a variety of subfields within psychology. Different purchase options for electronic and print versions are available to institutions looking to provide their users with these comprehensive publications.
- Browse Books in the APA Handbooks in Psychology Series
Accessing APA Databases
The APA databases are widely available at colleges and universities. If you are a student, faculty member or researcher at a college or other institution, check with your library to see which APA database are available. If the library subscribes, you can access the databases online from your home, office or dorm room. Check with your library for more information.
If you are an APA member, you can purchase access to the databases and search from your home or office. APA offers the databases in a number of packages designed to suit your research and budget needs. A package of databases is also available for professionals who need on-going access. To learn more about the databases, pricing options and how to sign up online, visit APA Databases Subscription Packages.
If you are not an APA member or need occasional access to the databases, you can search APA PsycInfo, APA PsycExtra, APA PsycArticles, and APA PsycBooks on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Contact APA staff to discuss search questions or to get information about APA's databases and services. Telephone help is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST, (800) 374-2722. You can also request help by sending an email .
The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms ®
Users will find all of the index terms that are used in APA's databases in The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms . Using the thesaurus before beginning a search will save a lot of time in finding articles. The thesaurus provides standardized index terms used for each record in APA's databases. Definitions and information about how the terms are used; and information about related terms and concepts are also provided to ensure that one is able to find all available material on a subject.
The thesaurus is generally updated annually—APA makes the most recent updates to the thesaurus available online. An interactive online version of the thesaurus is also provided with most all APA PsycInfo vendor systems.
Users can find a wide variety of essential tools to search APA's databases in APA's Training Center. APA provides print and online versions of search guides for most vendor search systems. The system-specific search guides help users with basic system navigation. A free field guide with information about the content of and conventions for use of APA PsycInfo record fields is also available.
- APA's Training Center
- APA PsycInfo Field Guide
APA Databases & Electronic Resources Blog
This blog is your source for training materials and information about the American Psychological Association’s Databases & Electronic Resources . It includes updates on web-based and in-person training sessions, as well as highlights from our video tutorials, handouts and other materials. You will also find announcements about new publications that are being added to the databases, new features being added to the APA PsycNet platform, and about new resources as they become available.
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Psychology: Research & Articles
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- APA 7 Citation Guide
Finding articles and research
The business library has excellent resources for psychology-related topics..
Use this information on this page and click the tab for Books & Ebooks to effectively conduct your research.
What's the difference between APA PsycARTICLES and APA PsycINFO?
- Interlibrary Loan Requests
Find articles using Library databases - Quick Guide
View all recommended library databases for psychology-related topics: Psychology Databases A-Z
Scroll down this page for short video tutorials - learn how to search effectively.
- APA PsycARTICLES (via Ebsco) Full-text peer-reviewed articles published by the American Psychological Association and affiliated journals. Help Guide
- APA PsycINFO (via Ebsco) The world's largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed literature in behavioral science and mental health. Not all items are full-text. Help Guide
- APA PsycTESTS (via Ebsco) Authoritative source of structured information about tests of interest to a variety of fields. Produced by the American Psychological Association, it provides access to thousands of actual test instruments, most of which are available for immediate download and use in teaching and research. Help Guide
- Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print (via Ebsco) A database for evaluating contemporary testing instruments. Full-text reviews for test products in psychology, education, business and leadership. Also provides a bibliography to all known commercially available English-language tests currently in print. Help Guide
- ProQuest (Multi-Database Search) Access to multiple ProQuest databases in one click. Provides full text journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. Scholarly and general interest literature in business, social sciences, science and technology, and humanities. Help Guide
- PubMed Contains more than 30 million citations and abstracts of biomedical and healthcare administration literature. Generally, does not include full-text journal articles; however, links to the full text are often present when available from other sources, such as the publisher's website or PubMed Central (PMC). PubMed is maintained by U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Help Guide
- SAGE Journals Peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of subject areas including business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology, and medicine. Access all journal volumes/issues from January 1, 1999 to the present. Help Guide
Peer Review & Scholarly
- Peer Review
What does peer reviewed mean?
Peer review is an editorial process whereby experts in a given field help judge the value of a relevant work or ideas that they were not part of creating. The primary function of peer review is gatekeeping—selecting the best from a pool of submissions. It also serves, however, as a source of constructive criticism, whereby expert feedback by peers can be taken into account to improve ideas, research proposals, and papers.Source: Britannica Academic
Peer reviewed journals and refereed journals are interchangeable terms = same meaning.
Most library databases provide a check-box to limit your search result to articles that are Scholarly and/ or Peer Review.
- Popular Literature vs. Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Literature: What's the Difference?
What are scholarly articles?
Although peer-reviewed journals are always scholarly in nature, scholarly journals are not always peer-reviewed. Scholarly journals are research focused, reporting results of original research and experimentation. The articles in these journals are heavily cited in the form of either footnotes or bibliographies, and written by, and addressed to, experts in a discipline. However, whereas peer-reviewed journals require a strict "peer-approval" for publishing, a scholarly journal that is not peer-reviewed only requires the approval of an editorial board. Source: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Video Tutorials. How to search PsycINFO (you can apply this informaiton to PsycArticles)
- Getting Started
Finding Relevant Articles to Anwser Your Research Question
- Part One - Searching with Subject (Index) Terms
- Part Two Searching - Searching with Subject (Index) Terms
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THESE VIDEOS - Part 1 & 2
The interface is different in this demonstration, but the interface you seeing using the GGU subscription to EBSCO APA PsycINFO and APA PsycARTICLES has all of the same features - things just look a little different. These videos are really helpful, but if the difference in the interface confuses you, just ask the GGU librarians for help.
The interface is different in this demonstration, but the interface you seeing using the GGU subscription to EBSCO PsycINFO and PsycARTICLE has all of the same features - things just look a little different. These videos are really helpful, but if the difference in the interface confuses you, just ask the GGU librarians for help.
Video Tutorial. Finding the Tests in APA PsycTESTS
Video Tutorial. Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print
This video is produced by Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria Library. The video introduces the database and at minute 1:20 teaches you how to search using the example: GRE OR "graduate record examination"
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How to Find Sources for Psychology Research Papers
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
The entire process of writing a psychology research paper can be stressful for college students. Sometimes, just picking a topic can seem daunting! Once you settled on a subject, actually finding sources to document your ideas and support your claims can be just as difficult. Where exactly should you look to find quality and reputable sources for your psychology research papers?
When you first start researching a subject, figuring out where to begin can be a real challenge. Where should you look for information? What kinds of sources are available? How do you decide which sources to include in your paper? While there is no simple way to make the research process fast and easy, there are steps you can take to ensure that you find the information you need.
If you are working on a psychology paper and are struggling to find sources, consider following the steps below.
1. Start by Choosing a Strong Topic
A good research topic is neither too broad nor too narrow. If you choose a subject that is too general, you will probably find yourself overwhelmed by information. Choosing a subject that is too specific leads to the opposite problem; not being able to find enough information to write about.
For example, if you chose "drug abuse" as the topic for your research paper, you would quickly find that there is no way to fully cover the subject in the limited number of pages you have to write. However, you can easily narrow this overly broad topic into something that will work.
Start by thinking of some questions that you might have about drug addiction . "How does drug use impact the health and well-being of college students ?" is an example of a research question that would yield plenty of information without being overwhelming.
2. Find Basic Background Information
The next step is to search for some basic background information on the topic for your psychology paper. At this stage, you're mostly looking for introductory information, but many of the sources you browse at this stage may also contain information on more in-depth sources.
For example, you might look through encyclopedias, online reference sites, lecture notes, supplementary course readings, or your own class textbooks for information on your topic. Pay careful attention to any sources that are cited in these readings and make note of these references so you can locate them in your school's library or online during the next phase of the research process.
Sometimes finding sources involves following a trail of sources starting with general information until you drill down to more specific references.
3. Use Library Catalogs to Search for Books
The next step is to pay a visit to your university library. The basic background research you did in the previous step should have offered some hints on what you need to look for. If you're still struggling, be sure to ask the librarian for assistance. Library staff are trained and skilled at locating all kinds of information.
If you are a distance education student, don't fret; there are still plenty of ways to access library resources. Start by checking with your school to see what type of distance resources they offer to online students. In many cases, you can access the materials you need via an interlibrary loan in which your local library is able to borrow books or other documents that are owned by another library.
Once you've located some books on your topic, spend some time browsing through the references listed in each book. For each and every source you find, think of the bibliography as a guide to further sources of information that might be helpful.
4. Utilize Online Databases to Find Periodicals
The next step is to start looking through online databases such as PsycINFO, PsycNET, and EBSCOhost in order to find journal articles on your topic. While some of these can be accessed online from your home computer, you might have to visit your library in order to access your school's subscription to certain databases.
In some cases, full-text versions of articles might be available online, but you will probably have head to the stacks to look up hard copies of many articles in your university's library. If you're not sure how to access these databases or how to perform a search, be sure to seek assistance from a librarian.
5. Search for Online Sources
The Internet can be a great way to find sources for your psychology research paper, but you need to know how to use it effectively. Start by checking with your instructor to find out what kinds of online sources can be used as references. Some instructors do not allow students to use any online references, while others allow only certain types. Online journal articles, newspapers, magazines, forums, blogs, and informational websites are all possible sources of different types of information.
A number of professional journals offer free access to full-text articles .
Even if your instructor does not allow online sources, the Internet can still be a useful tool. Online articles often contain information about books, journal articles or other offline sources that you are allowed to use in your paper.
6. Carefully Evaluate Each Source
Once you have assembled a good selection of possible sources, the next step is to start carefully evaluating each one to determine if it is credible and appropriate for your paper. Evaluating your sources involves a number of things, including noting the age of the information, the author, and the publisher.
Evaluating online sources can be a bit trickier. While there is a lot of great information out there on the web, there are also plenty of websites that are poor quality, misleading or downright incorrect.
7. Create a Working Bibliography
Even if your instructor does not require you to write and hand in a bibliography, creating one can be a very helpful part of the research process. A bibliography is basically a list of all the sources that you might use in your paper. In addition to listing all of the sources you've collected, consider adding a brief annotation to each entry that describes what the book or article is about. As you begin outlining your paper, refer back to your working bibliography in order to determine which sources to use in order to back up your arguments, analysis, or claims.
- Work from the general to the specific. Start with general resources like encyclopedias, and then start working your way down to more specific references like journal articles .
- Keep track of where you got your information! Maintain careful notes or a working bibliography in order to ensure that each source is properly cited in your paper.
- Don't be afraid to ask your librarian for help. When you talk to a librarian, offer details about the specific research question or thesis of your paper. Your librarian will be better able to help you find great sources if you provide detailed rather than general information about what you're looking for.
A Word From Verywell
While finding sources for your psychology papers can certainly be challenging at times, breaking it down into a step-by-step process can make it a lot less daunting. Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask your course instructor or university library staff for help. Your teacher might be able to point you towards some sources of background information, while a librarian can aid you in searching and locating source materials related to your topic.
American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.
By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.
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Searching tips, psychology literature databases, more broadly focused databases, online journals, and for items not available in full text, database help guides & tutorials.
- How to locate an article
- Encyclopedias and Online References
- Demographics & Statistics
- Tests & Measurements
- Evaluating Information Sources
- Finding Graduate Study
- APA Style 6th Ed.
- APA Style 7th Ed.
- Impact Metrics
The USC Libraries' Developing Keywords tutorial can help you practice using effective search terms so a database can find what you seek. Additionally, many databases index their records (e.g. PsycINFO and PubMed/MEDLINE ). In these cases, it is important to add to your search strategies those subject terms that are related to your key words. These can be found in a Subject Index or Thesaurus. Visit the Searching Solutions Research Guide for more information and tips.
More under an item offers links to tutorials.
For a comprehensive list of USC Libraries databases focused on psychology, visit: Databases for Psychology
- PsycINFO This link opens in a new window Abstract and citation database of scholarly literature in psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences. Includes journal articles, books, reports, theses, and dissertations from 1806 to present.
- MEDLINE (Ovid) This link opens in a new window Access to MEDLINE database through Ovid. Citations to articles related to clinical and research information in the bio-medical sciences. Coverage ranges from 1946-present.
- Social Work Abstracts This link opens in a new window Abstract database of social work literature from 1977 to present. Topics include homelessness, child and family welfare, AIDs, aging, substance abuse, community organization, and more.
- Sociological Abstracts This link opens in a new window Abstract database of sociology and social and behavioral sciences literature from 1952 to present. Includes journal articles, conference papers, books, and dissertations.
- Google Scholar This link opens in a new window Filtered Google Search finding scholarly journal articles, books, citations, and case law.
- REHABDATA This link opens in a new window REHABDATA, produced by the National Rehabilitation Information Center, describes over 70,000 documents covering physical, mental, and psychiatric disabilities, independent living, vocational rehabilitation, special education, assistive technology, law, employment, and other issues as they relate to people with disabilities. The collection spans 1956 to the present.
- Web of Science This link opens in a new window Interdisciplinary collection of journal articles, conference proceedings, and books. Collection of seven online database: Conference Proceedings Citation Index, Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Index Chemicus, Current Chemical Reactions, and Book Citation Index. Coverage is 1900-present.
- USC Libraries Journals Search by subject and/or title to locate key journals. The results will identify those journals available in electronic and those in print formats.
- Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) The aim of the Directory of Open Access Journals is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals thereby promoting their increased usage and impact.
To receive articles or books that the library that are not in full text:
- Use the USC Libraries' USC Libraries Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery (IDD) service
- Borrow: book, thesis, microfilm, etc.
- Scan and Deliver: article, book chapter, conference paper
- Hard copies of materials (books and DVDs) will be mailed to your house (distance-based users) or can be picked up at the Leavey library on campus; Electronic materials (book chapters or articles) will be emailed to you as a PDF
For additional information: visit IDD and Home Delivery .
- PsycINFO Quick Reference guide
- Web of Science Quick Reference Guide
- PubMed Quick Start
- EBSCO Conect - Support Help
- Introduction to Ovid Tutorial
- Sage Journals Online Users Guide
- The Wiley Online Library Training and Support
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Psychology research guide, psychology databases, tests & measures databases, supplementary resources, general search tips, citation searching, full text options.
- Featured Resource
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- Research Tools for Psychology
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The list below is a small subset of the databases on the Articles and Databases page on the library's website. For a full list of databases relevant to your research, see the Psychology Subject List .
- EBSCO Academic Search Ultimate This link opens in a new window Multi-disciplinary database providing abstract & indexing with select full text for many core scholarly journals as well as popular press periodicals
- Medline (PubMed) This link opens in a new window Service of the National Library of Medicine, includes citations for biomedical articles. 1879+
- PsycArticles This link opens in a new window Online database containing searchable full-text articles from nearly 80 journals published by the American Psychological Association and allied organizations.
- PsycBooks This link opens in a new window Full text in PDF of 1,456 scholarly books and 22,623 chapters as well as 736 classic resources in psychology. Of these, 720 books are published by the APA, including 100 out-of-print books from 1950-2002.
- PsycCritiques This link opens in a new window New searchable database of book reviews in psychology. The database replaces APA's respected print journal Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, providing major enhancements, very current reviews, and much more content.
- PsycExtra This link opens in a new window PsycEXTRA, a gray literature database, is a companion to PsycINFO. It contains a wide variety of important information in psychology, behavioral science, and health. Most of the content was written for professionals and disseminated outside of peer-reviewed journals. Documents include newsletters, magazines, newspapers, technical and annual reports, government reports, consumer brochures, and more.
- PsycInfo This link opens in a new window Produced by the American Psychological Association, it is the most comprehensive database of psychology. Provides abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health.
- Scopus This link opens in a new window International coverage of journal articles, selected web sites, and patents in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities; provides citation tracking for 1996+ (select coverage for earlier periods) and cited reference searches back to 1970. 1996+ more... less... Princeton's Institutional ID (needed for Papers software): 51401.
- Web of Science (ISI) This link opens in a new window Multidisciplinary index to journal literature in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Offers the option to find cited references, which are the authors lists of articles used in their research. Journal coverage in the social sciences, arts, and humanities is not comprehensive. Includes conference proceedings in the sciences and social sciences.
- MEDLINE (EBSCOhost) This link opens in a new window National Library of Medicine's database of biomedical journal literature providing access to information on the following: population and reproductive biology, medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, the preclinical sciences, and allied health. Coverage is worldwide with an emphasis on English-language peer reviewed journals.
- Psychiatry Online This link opens in a new window Contains references including full-text of all versions of the DSM and its Treatment Companion, and the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. It also gives access to journals including The American Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Services and several textbooks including The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Psychiatry Online also has self-assessment tools for study, board certification and recertification review, and lifelong learning. It also contains clinical and research news from Psychiatric News.
- Health and Psychosocial Instruments This link opens in a new window Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) produced by Behavioral Measurement Database Services, is a comprehensive bibliographic database providing information about behavioral measurement instruments. Information in the database is abstracted from hundreds of leading journals covering health sciences and psychosocial sciences. Additionally, instruments from Industrial/Organizational Behavior and Education are included.
- PsycTests This link opens in a new window
- Annual Review of Psychology This link opens in a new window Comprehensive review of the literature in psychology. Can help students identify major trends in the field as well as find general overviews of research in specific subject areas of psychology.
- Archives of Sexuality & Gender This link opens in a new window Brings together primary source content on social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ communities around the world, including the gay rights movement, activism, the HIV/Aids crisis, and more.
- Encyclopedia of Religion This link opens in a new window Provides articles with bibliographies on every aspect of religion. The second edition of the classic Encyclopedia of Religion.
- ERIC (EBSC0) This link opens in a new window Complete bibliography of education materials featuring published and unpublished sources of thousands of educational topics, with information from the Resources in Education and Current Index to Journals in Education. A very well designed thesaurus and identifiers facilitate use of this product.
- Global Health This link opens in a new window International public health database providing abstracts to literature about healthcare, biomedical life sciences, sexual and reproductive health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, environmental health, public health nutrition, food safety and hygiene . Covers English and foreign language journals, books, reports, patents, dissertations and conference proceedings. more... less... If the database is in use, please try again later.
- MIT's CogNet Library This link opens in a new window Full Text access to MIT books, journals, reference works and conference materials in cognitive and brain science.
- Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing (PEP) Archive This link opens in a new window Full text archive of eighteen premier journals in psychoanalysis. Contains over 50,000 articles and 4,000 figures and illustrations and also Freud's complete correspondence with Abraham, Ferenczi, Fliess, Jones and Jung. Included are also twenty-three classic psychoanalytic books by the following authors: Bion, Klein and Winnicot and work by Anzieu, Fairbairn, King and Steiner, Laplanche and Pontalis, Matte Blanco, Rosenfeld, Spence, and Stern. 1920-2002
- SAGE Psychology Video Collection This link opens in a new window
- Sage Research Methods This link opens in a new window A cross-disciplinary research methods tool. It provides full access to SAGE books, journal articles, reference materials, and videos about research design, specific methods, conducting research, and writing about research results. Along with many other titles, it includes the full-text of SAGE’s Little Green Books and Little Blue Books .
- Ulrich's Periodicals Directory This link opens in a new window Provides information on all types of periodicals, including pricing, subscription and distribution details as well as publisher and editor contacts. Links to URLs and e-mail addresses given when available. Includes periodical reviews from Magazines for Libraries and Library Journal.
- Google Scholar This link opens in a new window Index of full-text and scholarly materials.
Many catalogs and databases allow the user to put a search string together using the boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT.
- AND - combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, stereotyping AND prejudice finds articles that contain both terms .
- OR - combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms. For example, stereotyping OR prejudice finds results that contain either term .
- NOT - excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, stereotyping NOT prejudice finds results that contain the term stereotyping but not the term prejudice .
In many catalogs and databases, truncation is represented by an asterisk ( * ). To use truncation, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an *.
For example, type behav* to find the words behav e , behav ior , behav iour , behav ioral , behav iorism , etc..
PsycINFO has included cited references appearing in journal articles, books, and book chapters. Although comprehensive coverage of cited references began in 2001, references appear in some records for earlier years, and APA will continue to add retrospective coverage. This cited reference data enables the "Find Similar" and "Find Citing Articles" functions.
Web of Science is the most complete and comprehensive citation tracking database with coverage from 1900 to the present. It provides thorough coverage of ~5900 major journals. Includes cited author searching. Abstracts, keywords, and additional subject categories are included and searchable from 1991+. Video Tutorial
Scopus Provides International coverage of journal articles, selected web sites, and patents in the sciences and social sciences; provides citation tracking from 1996 to the present. Interactive Tutorial
Google Scholar provides access to peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Although it is not as standardized, thorough, or reliable as BIOSIS, Web of Science and other literature databases, Google Scholar has a simple interface that many find convenient and easy to use.
- Google Scholar Help
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Interlibrary Loan (ILL) : Interlibrary Loan (ILL) provides academic materials not available at the University. Service is available to any member of the University community who needs material for an academic research project or course-related assignment.
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Online Research Guide
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The advent of the internet has changed the way students go about conducting academic research. Before online research, students had to make the trip to their university library; comb through the stacks of physical research materials or microfiched content; read through the sources for relevant information; and manually include quotations, citations, and bibliographical entries. The internet has enabled students to access research materials digitally from anywhere in the world. Researchers can zero in on the content most pertinent to their work and automatically generate citations and bibliographies. The internet has made academic research and manuscript construction unbelievably faster and more efficient, resulting in higher-quality work.
Though online research offers many benefits, students may encounter significant drawbacks. Academic journals and books go through editing and review to vet the contents for reliability and accuracy; however, anyone can post something on the internet. As a result, researchers must learn how to discern a credible source from a non-credible one. Additionally, the wealth of information available online can make students feel overwhelmed about where to start.
The research methods in this psychology study guide can help students learn how to conduct online research. The guide includes information on search tools, strategies, and accuracy.
Methods of Psychological Research
There are several methods for conducting research in psychology. The particular type a researcher chooses often depends on the type of data they wish to obtain and whether this data should be qualitative or quantitative. Researchers can then determine whether they will base their study on descriptive, correlational, or experimental research. From there, they decide which methods of data collection best suit their study.
The following section provides an explanation of these types of data, research, and collection methods. Students conducting online research may find that they lean heavily on descriptive and correlational research. Students also often use case studies and archival data collection. No matter your preferred methods of psychological research, online sources usually provide enough data for students' research papers and literature reviews.
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Quantitative data is obtained through research based on a mathematical model and statistical inferences. Researchers manipulate variables to determine causal relationships. Quantitative data includes numerical values, percentages, and statistics.
Qualitative data uses non-numerical data such as personal accounts, descriptions, observation, and interviews. This method of research often studies behavior in a natural setting.
Psychological Research Methods
Correlational research is a form of non-experimental research that studies the relationship between two factors. In this method, the researcher does not manipulate any variables. This method of data analysis can help identify whether and how two factors may be associated with each other.
Descriptive research uses methods such as case studies, observation, and surveys to build an assessment of target cognitions or behaviors. Researchers do not manipulate variables or identify correlations. Instead, they describe current circumstances in order to gather information for later study.
Experimental research develops more definitive conclusions about causal relationships. Researchers manipulate an independent variable and measure the effect it causes on a dependent variable. However, some variables cannot be experimentally controlled in a realistic setting, especially in the field of psychology.
Data Collection Methods
Archival data collection refers to the review of pre-existing materials or secondary sources. Researchers consult data that others have collected in order to answer questions relevant to the research subject. Researchers also use archival data to construct an understanding of a phenomenon that may require further study in the form of a direct experiment.
Researchers in psychology frequently use content analysis to quantify findings from qualitative research. The analyst develops coding units to identify and track data points of interest. For example, content analysis may document the number of positive versus negative signifying words from a subject's qualitative response to a stimulus.
Experience sampling relies on self-reporting from participants. Participants describe their subjective perception of the study's focus. Participants may document their experiences at the request of a researcher, at pre-set intervals, or each time they encounter a specific stimulus.
Experimental psychology endeavors to answer a theoretical question using the scientific method. In general, researchers begin with a question, propose a hypothesis, and develop an experimental study to prove or disprove their hypothesis. Usually, researchers manipulate a particular variable in a controlled setting in order to determine its effect.
Participants in a survey answer questions that may be objective, such as demographic information, or subjective, such as opinions on a topic. Surveys may come in the form of questionnaires or structured in-person interviews.
Using Google for Online Research
A simple Google search yields a plethora of information, but not all of it is reliable, applicable, or relevant to students' research. Altering search engine settings can help filter out unreliable sources and provide you with search results that are more relevant to your topic. The following section outlines some ways you can tweak your searches to net the type of results you want. We use Google for these examples, as it is the most commonly used search engine.
Refining Your Search Results
Combing through a seemingly interminable list of websites to find the information you need is a painstaking and inefficient endeavor. In order to narrow down your search results and focus on sources that fit your needs, you can take advantage of several tools Google offers. Search shortcuts allow you to target specific search results. These symbols or words allow you to indicate precisely which phrases or keywords you would like to include or exclude from your results. Shortcuts can also help you search for results on a particular site or related pages.
Site search allows users to search within a particular domain. To perform this function, simply type "site:" (without quotation marks) followed by the domain you want to search within. Note that there should be no spaces between "site:" and the domain name that follows. You can add a keyword before the site search to find information about a specific topic within that domain. For example: "psychology certification" followed by "site:apa.org." This will bring up information about psychology certification on the official website for the American Psychology Association. Using the site function, you can filter results to a particular class of site (such as .edu, .gov, .org).
You can use also the advanced search function to refine your searches without shortcut text. Advanced search allows you to add filters to control for the types of results you get, such as articles published within a certain timeframe.
Students conducting psychological research online can also benefit from using Google Scholar. This tool allows you to limit your search results to scholarly sources. These sources may include articles, theses, books, and court opinions. Results from academic journals, universities, and professional societies have been vetted by their respective publishers and are highly likely to be reliable sources.
Search results from Google Scholar are sorted by relevance and ranked according to where they were published, who they were written by, and how frequently and recently they have been cited in other academic works. Information about the origins and credentials of your search results can help you to ensure your sources are as reputable and accurate as possible.
Additionally, students can set up their Google Scholar Preferences to access resources available through their college or university library. Patrons of a particular library can provide their login information and indicate that their library's resources are to be included in Google Scholar search results. The Google Scholarship Search Tips page features more details on getting the most out of Google Scholar.
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Psychology students interested in conducting online research do not have to use Google as their only search tool. In fact, many academic search engines and databases offer free or discounted services to students. The following section describes some common resources for general academic research, including several options that may prove especially helpful for psychology students.
- AMiner: AMiner allows users to access a variety of curated research materials. Students can search by subject, top-ranked papers, experts on the topic, and relevant related subjects.
- BASE: BASE is an academic search engine operated by Bielefeld University Library. Students can access about 60% of the indexed documents for free.
- CGP: The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications enables users to view descriptions of current and historical federal publications. Some publications include the full text.
- CIA World Factbook: The CIA World Factbook includes information about the people, government, history, and cultures of 267 world entities. The site also features a collection of world maps.
- ERIC: The Educational Research Information Center features approved content from sources that have gone through a formal review process.
- iSeek Education: iSeek Education specifically assists teachers, administrators, students, and caregivers. Users can access access editor-reviewed content from governments, universities, and noncommercial providers.
- National Archives: The National Archives Catalog gives users access to digitized, electronic, and authority records. Users can also view web pages from Archives.gov and the Presidential libraries.
- OCLC: OCLC provides resources through cooperation with members in more than 100 countries. Researchers can search for academic sources across the collections of all member libraries.
- CORE: CORE strives to collect all freely available research materials from digital libraries and journals across the internet. The site presents information to the public through their search engine.
For Psychology Students
- ProQuest: ProQuest provides a database of journals, newspapers, e-books, dissertations, theses, and digitized content on a wide range of academic topics, including subjects within psychology.
- American Psychological Association: The APA compiles a list of articles published in more than 90 APA journals across various subdisciplines of psychology. Students can search through psychological research articles online.
- Elsevier: Elsevier participates in the revision and dissemination process for 17% of scientific articles worldwide. The business publishes about 2,500 journals in healthcare and open science.
- Wiley Online Library: Wiley Online Library features over 1,600 journals, 21,000 books, and 200 reference works. Psychology students may access original research in all areas of psychology, including cognition; health and clinical psychology; and developmental, social and occupational psychology.
- Sage Journals: Sage Journals makes teaching and research materials available globally by removing obstacles to access. Sage directly publishes over 1,000 journals and 800 books every year.
- Frontiers in Psychology: The academic journal Frontiers in Psychology features current, peer-reviewed research in psychology. Subjects that appear in the journal include clinical and cognitive science, imaging studies, animal cognition, and social psychology.
- Springer Link: Springer Link gives students and other researchers access to over 10 million scientific documents, including books, journals, series, reference works, and protocols.
- The Online Books Page: The Online Books Page lists more than two million books that are freely available on the internet. Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, the site also provides access to thousands of research journals.
- American Journal of Psychiatry: The American Journal of Psychiatry website hosts all of the journal's research articles before they appear in a print issue. Users can access the current issue and an archive of older issues.
- Scientific Research: Psychology students can use Scientific Research Publishing to browse open access journals by subject or title. Researchers can search for articles related to their particular topic or manuscript.
Since the internet features hundreds of both reliable and unreliable sources, it is important to screen your sources to ensure the research is accurate and dependable. Determining whether a source provides helpful and relevant information can seem confusing. However, you can analyze certain aspects of a piece to determine its accuracy. Check whether your source has a qualified author, honorable purpose, professional appearance, objective tone, current data, and relevant links. The following list features tips from Georgetown University and the University of Chicago Press .
- Who Is the Author? When evaluating a source, you should first identify the author. Search their name and try to determine any credentials that could indicate their expertise or qualifications on the subject.
- What Is Its Purpose? Once you have determined the author, look for any clues as to the purpose of the writing. Check any affiliations the author has with the sponsor of the source. You may be able to ascertain the author's motive or the intended audience of the piece.
- Does It Look Professional? The overall appearance of the site may provide you with some information about its reliability as a source. An updated and well-constructed site looks clean and organized, and does not contain spelling or grammatical errors. The page should not contain profanities. Look for coherent, concise, and professional language.
- Is It Objective? An objective source relies on facts and does not use emotionally suggestive language that indicates bias. An appropriate source does not serve as propaganda, but rather attempts to present both sides of the issue at hand. If an author makes a judgement, it should rely on sufficient, impartial evidence.
- Is It Current? Make sure your information is current as possible so any conclusions you draw from your findings are still relevant. Check data reports and statistics for the year of publication. You may also ascertain when the website was last updated.
- What Sites does it Link to? Lastly, take some time to review the citations your source provides. Make sure that the author's information comes from reputable, relevant sources. You may follow these links to ensure that they are still active and up-to-date.
Organizing Your Research
Finding, managing, and organizing sources for a research paper can seem like a daunting task. A disorganized research process and haphazard filing system can result in wasted time and a sloppy paper. Some forethought and a methodical approach may help you save time and work more efficiently. The following list provides some tips for organizing your research.
Use Reviews and Abstracts: Reading reviews and abstracts for academic papers and journal articles can help you quickly evaluate a source. If the abstract does not contain relevant information, you can avoid reading the full text.
Follow the Trail to its Source: When you find an article you think may be a good source for your research, follow the links provided in the citations. This may help you identify the original data, evaluate credibility, and find additional sources.
Stick to One Topic at a Time: In order to avoid distraction and disorganization, stick to one topic at a time. Make sure you address each one sufficiently.
Bookmark Folders: It may be helpful to create individual bookmark folders for each topic or section in your research paper. This way, you can find the right source when you need it.
Complete the Bibliography as You Go: Instead of waiting until you've finished writing the body of your paper to craft your bibliography, add citations as you go. This may help streamline the process.
Online Tools to Manage Your Research
- EasyBib: EasyBib is an app that creates citations for the bibliography of your research paper. You can select the citation style required for your paper and input your source information by book title, ISBN, or by scanning the barcode and the app will automatically generate an accurate citation.
- Endnote: Endnote allows users to search for academic sources, automatically insert citations and references from their library into their papers, and store documents and files.
- Mendeley: Mendeley is a site that enables you to build a customized library of the research you want to review and cite, upload and share your documents with collaborators, and network with fellow researchers.
- RefWorks: RefWorks is a tool with which researchers can create their own resource database, manage and share references, and create a bibliography.
- Zotero: Zotero automatically searches the web for material relevant to your saved selection. Users can create instant citations and bibliographies, and easily collaborate with colleagues.
Citing Online Resources for Psychology Students
Students and researchers use many different citation styles and writing formats. The style you use generally depends on the subject about which you are writing. Students conducting online psychology research studies usually use APA Style . Most science and social science disciplines follow this style. When writing research papers and creating presentations, psychology students should expect to follow APA's general format and citation rules.
Each type of source material requires a different citation format. It can be confusing for students to try and figure out how to cite their various sources. The following section provides examples of some common sources psychology students might cite. The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers excellent resources for students who need information on how to cite various sources in their academic papers.
Articles From Online Periodicals
What is a doi.
A DOI , or Digital Object Identifier, is a longer-lasting alternative to a URL link to particular document. You may include a DOI in your citation as a way to direct your readers to the precise location where they can find the source material you used. Most publishers of online scholarly journals provide the article's DOI on the first page of the document.
Newspaper articles, electronic books, latest posts.
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PSYCH 303: Research Methods in Psychology
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Welcome to the PSYCH 303 Library Research Guide
This guide provides recommended library resources and information on conducting scholarly research in order to help you complete your course assignments.
Questions? How to Get Library Research Help
- Great for immediate point-of-need answers
- Best for more in-depth research assistance
- PsycInfo (APA) This link opens in a new window Premier resource for surveying the literature of psychology and adjunct fields. Covers 1887-present. Produced by the APA.
Psychology Research Guide
Welcome to your psychology guide.
- Picking a topic
- Background research and finding books
- Advanced searching in databases and Google
- Evaluating sources and data
- This guide will help you through the research process.
- Click "Next" to get started, or click on a tab to browse the guide.
- If you need help, click the "Ask Us 24/7" pop-up tab to chat with a librarian.
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- Primary Sources
- Getting Started
- Secondary Sources
- Background Sources
- Tests & Measures
- Methods & Protocols
- Writing & Citation
Primary Sources in Psychology
Primary sources in psychology are empirical (report research through observable testing), often published in journals, and usually include standardized sections (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References).
Finding Journal Articles
Databases contain an index to journals and articles that you can search to identify articles on your topic. Some databases link to the full text of journal articles. If the full text is not available from the database, check the library Citation Linker to see if Reed has access to the article. If the article you are looking for is not available at Reed, you can request it through interlibrary loan .
Psychology Database Best Bets
Preprints and grey literature.
Pre-prints and grey literature have not been formally published through a peer-review process, but may still report on an empirical study. New research may appear in these spaces before formal publication.
- CogPrints An electronic archive for self-archiving papers in any area of psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics, and many areas of computer science.
- PsyArXiv PsyArXiv (psychology archive) is designed to facilitate rapid dissemination of psychological research by allowing scholars to post working papers, unpublished work, and articles under review (preprints). PsyArXiv is a creation of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS) and the Center for Open Science (COS).
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Your topic can be easily located using the online catalog and Web-based indexes or subject guides and databases. The databases are generally listed by subject
Find articles using Library databases - Quick Guide · APA PsycARTICLES (via Ebsco) · APA PsycINFO (via Ebsco) · APA PsycTESTS (via Ebsco) · Mental
How to Find Sources for Psychology Research Papers · 1. Start by Choosing a Strong Topic · 2. Find Basic Background Information · 3. Use Library
Online Journals · USC Libraries Journals. Search by subject and/or title to locate key journals. · Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
Psychology Databases · EBSCO Academic Search Ultimate This link opens in a new window · Medline (PubMed) This link opens in a new window.
Students conducting psychological research online can also benefit from using Google Scholar. This tool allows you to limit your search results to scholarly
Types of Scholarly Sources ; Academic Journal Articles, Books and Book Chapters, Other ; Empirical Study. Literature Review. Theory Article. etc.
In web articles, look for signal phrases like "According to ...." and "as reported by...." to see who reported the claim first. If the article
Databases contain an index to journals and articles that you can search to identify articles on your topic. Some databases link to the full
Go to Google Scholar. Search for keywords related to your topic. Look for newer papers. If you cannot download the papers you want, try to get a membership at a