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* Psychology

This guide provides reliable resources pertaining to the study of behavior and the mind, including books, journals, databases, videos, and reference sources in the psychological sciences.

Is My Source Scholarly?

Source Level

Here are a few criteria for determining if your source is scholarly:
Author(s) credentials - are they experts working or teaching in this field of study?
Length - is it a few brief paragraphs or a longer, more substantive article?
Language - is it written for other scholars in the field?  Do they used specialized or technical language specific to this field of study?     
References - is the author(s) citing other scholars in this field of study? Do they have a robust reference list?
Journal or Book Type - If it's a journal article, what kind of journal is the article is published in?  Is it a scholarly journal, or even peer reviewed?  If it’s a book, is it published by a university press or other well-respected commercial publisher known for publishing scholarly works?

Reading Strategies for Vetting Sources for Close Reading

Narrowing to a Manageable List of Database Search Results

1. Spend time brainstorming search terms.  Thinking about what words scholars use to talk about your topic will save you time in the long run.

2. Thesaurus - if the database has one, it can often help you find the right terms for your search.

3. Skim article titles and abstracts for the right terms - keep a running list of the terms scholars in this discipline use (then you can refer back and reuse them when you search in more than one database (see Reading strategies for vetting sources for close reading above for more).

4. Discover what subject headings are used for the concepts you're researching.  Search multiple subject headings using advanced search.  Use other limiters like limiting to only articles where certain terms are mentioned within article abstracts.

5. Use any exclusion criteria with NOT or the minus (-) symbol (e.g. if you're only interested in outpatient studies you could use NOT inpatient* to weed out studies that specifically mention inpatient populations).

6. Use citation tracking to follow research on a topic over time (see Citation Tracking: Finding articles by citation on the Articles tab of this guide).

7. Use Google Scholar search qualifiers "insubject", "intitle" and "intext" along with quotation marks and the boolean operators AND & OR.  (e.g. insubject:"heart rate variability" intitle:("systematic review" OR meta-analysis) intext:(child OR adolescent)

8. Use time limiters to look at smaller chunks of results during a particular time period. (e.g. looking at the most recent 5 years, then the next five years).

Note: If you’re looking for articles for a systematic review or meta-analysis, you’ll need to search multiple databases (e.g. PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, etc.) since no single database holds everything.  Each database will have different relevancy algorithms and may hold duplicate content. Though Google Scholar is poised to become the leading (possibly even a stand alone) bibliographic database for systematic reviews (Gehanno et al, 2013).

Gehanno JF, Rollin L, Darmoni S. (2013). Is the coverage of Google Scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making,13(1), 7. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-13-7

9. See what others have done.  New to systematic reviews and meta-analysis and not sure what your objectives, exclusions, inclusions and other methods should be?  Take a look at what other protocols folks have used in:

The best way to export and manage large numbers of articles is with a citation manager

10. Feel free to schedule a research consultation with me.

Top Ten Tips for Advanced Researchers

1. Spend time brainstorming search terms.

 

2. Find and use the database's thesaurus. If the database has one, it can often help you find the right terms for your search.


3. Skim article titles and abstracts for the right terms. Keep a running list of the terms scholars in this discipline use. Then you can refer back and reuse them when you search in more than one database. (See Reading strategies for vetting sources for close reading above for more.)


4. Discover what subject headings are used for the concepts you're researching. Search multiple subject headings using advanced search. Use other limiters, such as limiting to only articles where certain terms are mentioned within article abstracts.

 

5. Use any exclusion criteria with NOT or the minus (-) symbol. For example, if you're only interested in outpatient studies you could use NOT inpatient* to weed out studies that specifically mention inpatient populations.


6. Use citation tracking to follow research on a topic over time. (See Citation Tracking: Finding articles by citation on the Articles page of this guide.)


7. Use Google Scholar search qualifiers "insubject," "intitle," and "intext" along with quotation marks and the Boolean operators AND & OR. For example, insubject:"heart rate variability" intitle:("systematic review" OR meta-analysis) intext:(child OR adolescent)


8. Use time limiters to look at smaller chunks of results during a particular time period. (For example, limit the search results to the most recent five years, then the next five years if necessary.)

 

Note: If you’re looking for articles for a systematic review or meta-analysis, you’ll need to search multiple databases (e.g., PsycINFO, PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, etc.) since no single database holds everything. Each database will have different relevancy algorithms and may hold duplicate content. Though Google Scholar is poised to become the leading (possibly even a standalone) bibliographic database for systematic reviews (Gehanno et al, 2013).

Gehanno, J.-F., Rollin, L., & Darmoni, S. (2013). Is the coverage of Google Scholar enough to be used alone for systematic reviews. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making13(1), 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-13-7

9. See what others have done. New to systematic reviews and meta-analysis and not sure what your objectives, exclusions, inclusions, and other methods should be? Take a look at what other protocols folks have used in:

10. Research Consultations. Feel free to reach out to me for a one-on-one research consultation. My contact information is always available on the Psychology Research Guide. The library also has experts and periodically provides workshops on the more popular reference managers.