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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.

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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. Identify your information need (often guided by the requirements of your assignment)
  2. Pre-research (background info, keywords, learn about topic)
  3. Create a research statement or question (often guided by your assignment)
  4. Develop a search strategy. (Where will you look for information? This will depend on your what kind of information you need.)
  5. Search for information. (Choose a search tool and test your keywords.)
  6. Evaluate the sources you find.
  7. Answer question and cite sources

Exploring a Topic with Pre-Research

Doing some pre-research is important because:

  • You'll find out if enough information exists about your topic for you to do thorough research
  • It will help you refine your topic or lead you to a new aspect of it to explore.
  • It will help you identify more keywords to further your research.

Explore your topic in a library database like Opposing Viewpoints.

If you need to choose a topic, use the Browse Issues tool. Each topic has an overview to help you learn more about your topic, get background information, and locate keywords..

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 (for example, serial position effect and isolation effect).
  • Use the database's limiters: full text, scholarly peer-reviewed limiters, and date range.
  • Keep an eye out for more keywords and revise your searches as you go.

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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