This LibGuide provides information on finding research in Psychology. Please contact me if you need help. I can save you time. You can e-mail or IM me to ask a question or set up a time for an appointment.
Primary vs. Secondary Sources
- Written first
- Factual - tells what happened (e.g. report of empirical research)
- Original thinking/new discoveries
- Written by those who did the research
- Published in scholarly journals
- Written for scholars & professionals
- Follows a scientific model
- Written later
- Interpretive - explains the significance (e.g. newspaper or magazine article that mentions a study)
- Describes/interprets/analyzes/evaluates/explains/comments on a primary sources
- Written by journalists
- Published in newspapers and magazines
- Brief; overview of the findings
- Written for public consumption
- Doesn't follow a prescribed format
Why distinguish between primary and secondary sources?
We gain credibility when we base our own writing or opinions on solid evidence derived from empirical data and original documents. Primary sources definitely carry more weight than secondary sources, but secondary sources can be valuable in leading us to primary sources.
Finding Scholarly Research
You can use a variety of databases to find articles that discuss a particular test or aspects of it, such as its reliability. PsycINFO is the most important database to search, and the place to start, but other databases may have useful articles as well. Try both keyword and subject (thesaurus) searching. Don't forget to click the 'peer-reviewed' box to limit your search to scholarly articles.