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*Psychology Research Guide*: Home

Resources of all psychology-related topics.

Off-Campus Access to Databases

To access any database in this Research Guide from off campus, you will need your myMCC login. If you need to reset your password, go to the myMCC login page and click on Password Reset/Find Username.

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Primary and Secondary Sources

Examples of primary sources in psychology:

  • Original research
  • Experiment results
  • Ethnographies
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Data sets

Examples of secondary sources in psychology:

  • Reviews of the literature or literature reviews
  • Critical interpretations of scholarly studies
  • Journal articles that do not present new research

This research guide from the Arnold Berhnard Library at Quinnipiac University may also be helpful.

Finding Articles

The Research Process

  1. Start with your research question or thesis statement.
  2. Identify key concepts.
  3. Identify keywords related to those concepts.
  4. Choose your search tools.
  5. Test your search.
  6. Revise/refine your search.

Exploring a Topic

When you're just starting your research and want to learn more about a topic or even narrow its focus, Opposing Viewpoints is a good place to start.

Use the Browse Issues tool to locate your topic. Each topic has a summary, which is a good place to locate keywords to further your research.

Starting Your Search

Once you have some specific keywords and a good idea of what kind of information you need, searching a psychology-specific database like PsycArticles is a good next step.

  • Use specific keywords, not questions
  • Use the database's limiters: full text, scholarly peer-reviewed limiters, and date range
  1. From the library website, click Academic Sources, then select A to Z Databases.
  2. From the alphabetical list, select PsycArticles.
  3. On the search page, before you enter keywords, click the checkboxes for Full Text and Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.
  4. Enter your keywords in the search boxes. Example: memory and serial position effect
  5. When you get your results, consider using the date ranger limiter if your instructor has date requirements for your sources.
  6. Click the title of the article to open the record. From there you can:
  • View the abstract (which is a good source for more keywords when you revise your search!)
  • Open the full text article (PDF or HTML)
  • Save the article to your Google Drive
  • Get the article's citation (Cite tool - be sure to choose the APA citation)
  • Print, email, or copy the link to the article (Permalink tool)

Empirical research

What is Empirical Research? 

Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

Key characteristics of empirical research:

  • Statement about the methodology being used
  • Research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the group or phenomena being studied
  • Process used to study this group or phenomena, including any controls or instruments such as tests or surveys

While reading:
Ask yourself, could I recreate this study and test these results?  Remember, the abstract of the article should provide a description of the methodology.

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