Welcome! This guide is designed to provide an overview of the Proctor Library's resources for psychology research.

Your Psychology Librarian
Caitlin R. Trachim

Image of Caitlin Trachim

Accessing Psychology Journal Articles

There are several ways to locate full-text articles for psychology research.

Starting with Google

If you want to begin with Google, I would suggest starting with Google Scholar. When accessing articles via Google, keep in mind that full-text will not be available unless you are opening the article through one of our databases. The Proctor Library provides you with access - so the best thing to do is to copy down the citation for the article that you would like to read, then use the Journal Finder tab on the Library's website to see whether or not we have the full-text available.

If for some reason the Library does not have full-text access to an article that you need, there is always the option to submit an interlibrary loan request for the article. You will need to log into your Library account in order to do this.

Using the Library's Databases

An excellent place to begin is by doing broad searches of our research databases. Use as many keywords as necessary to narrow down your searches, and try to limit your results to peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles. Depending upon the guidelines provided by your professor, you may also be able to use newspapers and other sources. You can find a list of peer-reviewed journals and links to databases which are ideal for psychology research below.

Academic Search Ultimate:
Full text for over 9,000 scholarly publications in almost every discipline including social sciences, humanities, education, arts & literature, and many more.

JSTOR:
Our only database dedicated solely to scholarly literature with articles in the fields of history, politicial science, archaeology, art history, anthropology, literature and languages, music, and more; however, JSTOR usually is unable to provide access to the most recently published articles.

PsycARTICLES:
Full text articles on current issues in psychology including journals published by American Psychological Association and allied organizations.

PsycINFO:
Limited full text. Citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books and dissertations, all in the field of psychology.

SAGE Premier:
Provides access to over 600 journal titles in business, humanities, social sciences, and science, technology and medicine with backfile to 1999.

What is Peer Review?

Peer review plays a central role in scholarly publishing. In a peer-reviewed ("scholarly") journal, articles are not accepted for publication until they have gone through the process of being read and critiqued by experts in the author's field (i.e., peers). Peer review helps to validate research and establishes a method by which that research can be evaluated as credible.

Peer-Reviewed Sources vs. Popular Sources

This short video from Carnegie Vincent Library at Lincoln Memorial University does a good job of explaining the differences between peer-reviewed, scholarly sources (which you should be using) and popular sources (which you generally want to avoid).

The Peer Review Process

  • An author submits their article to the editor of a peer-reviewed journal.
  • The journal editor forwards that article to one or more reviewers who carefully evaluate the quality of the submitted article.
  • Peer reviewers check the article for accuracy and assess the validity of the author's research. There are several types of peer review:
    • A single-blind review means that the names of the reviewers are not known to the author of the article. This is the most common type of peer review.
    • A double-blind review means that both the names of the reviewers and the name of the author are not known to each other. This can prevent any bias on the part of the reviewers.
  • If necessary, the reviewers suggest changes and the article is returned to the author to be revised. If they find that the article does not meet the standards set by the publication, the submission is rejected.
  • After necessary revisions, the article can be submitted through the process again.
  • If accepted, the article is published.

Because of the strict standards for publishing set by a peer-reviewed journal, articles in such publications are examples of the best research practices in a given field. However, keep in mind that even peer-reviewed journals will sometimes publish editorials or letters - these are considered opinion pieces and would not be suitable for use as a "scholarly" source.

Formatting Citations in APA Style

Our APA citation guide was compiled with the help of useful information from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. The Proctor Library's reference sheet for APA citations can come in handy as well.

Basic Rules for APA Citations

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin.
  • Authors' names are given with the last name first; give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work. For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent.
  • Present the complete journal title, and maintain the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its title.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • When referring to books, chapters, articles, or Web pages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns.
  • Italicize the titles of longer works, such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.

Basic Format for Books

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

  • For "Location," you should always list the city and the state using the two-letter postal abbreviation without periods (i.e., New York, NY).
  • This example book has only one author.

Basic Format for Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. http://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy

  • You can also cite an article retrieved from a database as though you were citing a print journal, unless it is from an open-access journal that is only accessible online.
  • When listing page numbers for articles, do not use p. or pp. unless the periodical is a newspaper.

Note:The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association states (p.192) that including database information in citations is not necessary because databases change over time. When referencing a print article obtained from an online database (such as a database in the library), provide appropriate print citation information. By providing this information, you allow people to retrieve the print version if they do not have access to the database from which you retrieved the article.

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