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Psychology Research Guide

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Step 1: Getting Started

Finding Background Information:

If you receive an assignment that requires you to cite sources from a scholarly journal, it may be tempting to immediately start searching in databases for journal articles. Keep in mind that these articles are typically written for professionals and researchers, not for students just entering the field. The jargon and technical language takes a while to master. It is typically helpful to find broader background information to familiarize yourself with a topic before diving into the specifics.

This way, you can also learn common, important terms and their definitions.

Encyclopedias:

Encyclopedias are a quick and efficient resource for discovering authoritative information on a new topic. Encyclopedia articles typically provide a subject's background, history, current trends and a list of reliable sources for further reading.

Here is a selection of psychology-related encyclopedias to help you get an idea of wide range of subjects covered in our resources. The full-text of many of these encyclopedias is available online to JMU users, so you can browse them from wherever your computer is. If you need assistance finding sources like these, please contact me.

 

Dictionaries:

Dictionaries are very useful when looking at unfamiliar topics because they can, of course, help you define new and unfamiliar terms and concepts. Understanding terminology and how it is used in psychology is absolutely essential to reading journal articles and doing your own research.

Here is a selection of psychology-related dictionaries, covering many sub-topics in psychology.The full-text of many of these encyclopedias is also available online to JMU users, so you can browse them from wherever your computer is. If you need assistance finding sources like these, please contact me.

 

Handbooks:

Handbooks are exceptional tools for learning the history and background of a topic as well as the current issues and academic landscape. They typically contain a series of articles organized around themes. These articles explore different aspects of each theme.

As an example, take a look at the table of contents for The Handbook of Positive Psychology. The book is divided into different sections looking at different approaches or populations and within each section, many facets of the main topic are investigated.

Articles in handbooks also serve as great sources for further readings on a certain topic. Each article will typically have an extensive list of references that you can utilize as sources.

Here is a selection of psychology-related handbooks in our collection. The full-text of many of these encyclopedias is also available online to JMU users, so you can browse them from wherever your computer is. If you need assistance finding sources like these, please contact me.

All Psychology Databases

 

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Psychology Librarian

 

Michael Mungin

Michael Mungin
munginmj@jmu.edu
(540) 568-5146
130 Carrier Library
Contact me if you need help.

 

 

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This page last reviewed by M. Mungin on 2/28/12
  
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Last updated: Monday, January 14, 2013

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