This is the "Home" page of the "PSY 3500: Scientific Thinking and Methods in Psychology" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

PSY 3500: Scientific Thinking and Methods in Psychology   Tags: 3500, methods, psy, psyc, quick  

This LibGuide will help you learn to do research in the field of Psychology.
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2013 URL: Print Guide

Home Print Page


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.

Off-Campus Access

If you have an A number you can set up your computer at home to access USU library resources.

Searching PsycINFO

This one-page handout will walk you through a sample PsycINFO search here at USU.

Search Tips


Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary 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
  • Detailed
  • Written for scholars & professionals
  • Follows a scientific model

Secondary Sources

  • 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.

  • PsycINFO
    The premier psychology database. Use the thesaurus!
  • PsycArticles
    Full-text articles from journals of the American Psychological Association.
  • Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection
    PBSC is a full-text article database featuring more than 490 peer-reviewed journals.
  • Mental Measurements Yearbook
    Descriptions and reviews of tests of educational skills, personality, vocational aptitude, etc. Includes information on reliability and validity info. Limit: 4 simultaneous users -- Print copy in Reference Area on the 1st floor -- REF LB 3051 .B87
  • Tests in Print
    Summaries of commercially available tests. Includes test purpose, test publisher, in-print status, price, test acronym, intended test population, administration times, publication date(s), and test author(s). Also 1st floor, REF LB 3051 .T47x
  • Web of Science
    Web of Science is a multidisciplinary database with citation search feature. Check out who is citing whom. Coverage from 1982 to the present
  • Digital Dissertations (Dissertation Abstracts)
    You may not want to read a whole dissertation, but you could check out the methodology, results, and discussion to see if they will inform your work. Recent dissertations are also good sources of literature reviews.

Have Questions?

Profile Image
Dory Cochran

Loading  Loading...