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Psychology Research Guide

This guide will help you start your research on psychology-related topics for your research paper or presentation.

Reference Books - Searching the Library Catalog - Searching Electronic Resources - Print Periodicals - Searching the Internet - Web Evaluation - Citing Your Sources

Reference Books

Reference books are a good place to start your research. The following list of books will help you narrow down your topic, find additional search terms, and get a general overview of your topic before you begin your research. This is not an exhaustive list, so be sure to look at the books shelved near these titles for additional books.

  • Popular Psychology: An Encyclopedia – REF BF31.C715
  • Encyclopedia of Psychology ­– REF BF31.E52 
  • Dictionary of Psychology – REF BF31.C65
  • Theories of Psychology: A Handbook ­– REF BF81.C43 
  • Biographical Dictionary of Psychology – REF BF109.A1 B56
  • The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Psychology – REF HM251.B476

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Searching the Library Catalog

Once you have narrowed down your topic, search the library catalog for additional resources on your specific topic. Here are some search tips and strategies:

  1. In the Library of Congress Classification System (LC), Psychology fills the entire BF section. This is a rather large area, so you will need to narrow your search with additional search terms in the advanced search screen
  2. If you do a subject search for psychology you will see 130 entries. Try scrolling down the indexed list of subject headings to find more specific headings and click on those titles first.
  3. Other subject headings to search:
    Social psychology
    Behaviorism (Psychology)
    Humanistic Psychology
  4. Using the advanced search screen, Search for: psycholog? Search in “Subject.” then build your search by entering another search term connected with AND to produce more specific results. Examples: sports, development?, art, advertis?, abnormal, or symbol?

Note: The ? symbol placed at the end of the term is a truncation symbol that tells the computer to search for all words that start with the first part of the letters included. For example, symbol? will search for symbol, symbols, symbolism, etc.

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Searching Electronic Resources for Articles

The OCC Library has many databases that contain a wide variety of magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, as well as ebooks, multimedia and more. It's important to select the correct database. A librarian can assist you with this task. This is a list of the most pertinent psychology sources. You can find all of the databases that are available on the library's Periodicals and Electronic Resources page. If you are off campus, you will need to log on with your student ID and last name.

  • PsycINFO – PsycINFO (from Ebsco) is an abstract and citation database of psychological literature from the 1800s to the present. It provides scholarly literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health, and in related fields such as psychiatry, management, business, education, social science, neuroscience, law, medicine, and social work. To get full text, click on the "Linked Full Text" box.
  • Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection - Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection is a comprehensive database covering information concerning topics in emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry & psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods. The database contains more than 560 full-text journals.
  • Health Reference Center Academic – Health, wellness, and medical magazine and scholarly journal articles. Can limit search to scholarly journals. Most articles are available in full-text.
  • Gale Psychology Collection – This database is a subset of Academic OneFile that focuses on psychology subjects. This database contains journal, magazine and newspaper articles.

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Print Periodicals at OCC Library

The following periodicals are found in the Periodicals section of the library and are filed in alphabetical order by title.

  • American Journal of Psychology (Summer 2002 - Summer 2010)
  • Child Development (4 years ago - Current)
  • Child Development Perspectives (4 years ago - Current)
  • Journal of Abnormal Psychology (4 years ago - Current)
  • Journal of Applied Psychology (02/1996 - 02/2005)
  • Journal of Personality (9 years ago - Current)
  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (01/1974 - 12/1984)
  • Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (4 years ago - Current)
  • Perceptual and Motor Skills (4 years ago - Current)
  • Psychological Bulletin (01/2000 - 01/2005)

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Searching the Internet for Web Sites

  • IPL2 - This site was developed by librarians as a reliable and efficient guide to Internet resources. This site is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 14,000 Internet resources that have been selected and evaluated by librarians.
  • DMOZ Open Directory Project – This human-edited directory of the Web breaks the topics into sub-topics and also provides “see also” references.
  • Google Advanced Search - Instead of using Google's default search, try the advanced search. There are a lot of tools that will give you better results, such as a box that lets you limit your results to a domain such as .edu or .gov.

Recommended Web Sites

  • AmoebaWeb: Psychology on the Web! – Maintained by Douglas Degelman, Ph.D. from Vanguard University, this site provides links to articles and other resources on various branches of psychology.
  • Psych Central – A mental health social network created and run by mental health professionals. Site features resources, disorders, quizzes, ask the therapist, drugs, a blog, news, research, books, chats, and a community discussion board.
  • Psychological Tutorials and Demonstrations – From Hanover College’s Psychology Department, the site provides links to many different tutorials on different aspects of psychology from sensation & perception to social psychology.

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Web Evaluation

Evaluating Web Sites - A quick and useful guide to help you evaluate the Web pages you find for purpose, authority, objectivity, relevance, currency, and responsibility.

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Citing Your Sources


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(jk 5/07, updated lc 05/12)