Preparing Research

Since Psychological Science is rooted in previous research, one of the biggest parts of writing is finding articles that you can incorporate into your writing. This is absolutely necessary for writing a literature review, as well as the Introduction and Discussion Section of a Research Paper.

When finding articles for Literature Reviews and Research papers, it is important to be aware of the type of sources you are using. Are you using primary or secondary sources? Most research requires primary sources, particularly when writing Literature Reviews.

Primary Source

A primary source in psychological science is the study written by the experimenter(s). It should have an Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, References and Figures/Tables sections and be written in such a way that the study itself could be replicated based upon the report.

Peer Reviewed

While searching for your material, it is important to indicate that you want to search for peer reviewed material. This means that when the study was submitted to be published, a team of professionals in the field reviewed the paper and approved it as having accurate information and that the study was valid.

Secondary Source

A secondary source is a piece of literature written about the study. Literature Reviews are an example of a secondary source. They still have decent information, but the possibility of bias and incorrect information are higher in secondary sources. Media articles discussing the findings of a study are another example. They can leave out crucial elements of the study in order to cater a larger reading audience. This can be dangerous to rely on for research.

⇒  Useful Hint: Secondary sources, like a Literature Review, are a great way to get into the material. Read over the review and see if it’s related to what your topic is. Then, look in the review’s reference section and find the titles of articles that can be useful for your topic and look them up. This may prove to be quicker than trying to find articles on PsycInfo. ⇐

Psychological science Research guides @ UVM

You can find a list of psychology databases on the Howe Library website. Finding good, full-text articles can be challenging and takes a lot of practice. The Reference Desk in the Howe Library is very helpful.