Unit Banner

PSY 235 — Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology


Contact Information

Caroline Bordinaro


Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research

The Literature Review

Magazine, Journal and Newspaper Articles Online

Finding Books in the library

Finding quality websites

Citations and Plagiarism

For more detailed help, download our LIBRARY GUIDES (.doc format)

Concepts and Questions for Beginning Research
  • Where to Start?
      • What's your research question?
      • What information do you need to find?
  • Who cares about the same information? (e.g.: researchers, historians, government, etc.)
      • What kind of information do they need?
      • Where would they get it?
  • What resource are you currently using? Why is it important to know?
      • Is there a better tool for the job?
      • Are you using it in the most efficient/effective way?
  • Types of information available
      • Books
      • Articles from journals, magazines and newspapers
      • Websites
      • Newsletters
      • Reports
  • Terms you need to know before searching for articles
    • DATABASE: An organized collection of information, especially electronic information.
    • ONLINE JOURNAL INDEX: A database that contains magazine, newspaper and journal articles e.g: Academic Search Premier
    • JOURNAL (also SCHOLARLY JOURNAL): Scholarly publication, articles usually reviewed by experts in the field before publication; published for an academic audience; narrow focus; deeply researched e.g.; American Journal of Psychology
    • MAGAZINE: Publication of general interest: popular interest and broad subjects (e.g: Psychology Today)
    • ABSTRACT: a brief summary of the main content of an article
    • FULL TEXT: the complete article. Click on the FindItCSUDH button to see if the Full Text is available.
    • CITATION: the basic information you need to find the full text of an article. Includes author, article title, date, title of publication, and volume/issue.
  • Search Concepts - creating an effective search
    • Take your research question and circle the "important words" (keywords).
    • Think of at least three synonyms for each keyword.
    • Use these words in various combinations to get a good result (between 10-45 results is optimal).

The Literature Review

What is a Literature Review?

Check these links: 



Click here for a great handout that explains how to do a literature review

Why do you need one?



What's the difference between a Literature Review and an Annotated Bibliography?

This comparison chart breaks it down nicely!

Now go forth and search!!

Magazine, Journal and Newspaper Articles Online

These indexes must be accessed through the library home page at library.csudh.edu. Under Research Tools, you may either browse by subject area or go to your favorite resource using the alphabetical List.


  • If you only know what subject you're looking for (e.g. psychology) click Browse Databases by Subject.
  • If you know which database you want to use (e.g. JSTOR) click Browse Databases by Title (A-Z).
  • If you are looking for an article from a specific journal (e.g. Journal of Adolescent Psychology) click Browse Journal Titles.
  • If you aren't sure where to start, click the how to find an article link at the top for help.

NOTE: These are subscription online journal indexes, selected and provided specifically for CSUDH students. To access from home, please see our How to Log in to the Databases from Off-Campus guide for instructions.

Recommended PSYCHOLOGY indexes:

  • PsycINFO*: The most thorough and comprehensive index to the psychology literature available.  Indexes psychology journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, professional literature and dissertations. Thousands of peer-reviewed publications indexed and available in full text.
  • ScienceDirect: Designed to serve needs of the researcher, ScienceDirect offers comprehensive coverage of literature across all fields of science. Includes over 500 psychology journals.
  • JSTOR: Comprehensive index of refereed and scholarly journals, including 279 psychology titles.
  • SOCIndex*: Sociology and social sciences focused collection with 190 publications in psychology
  • Wiley Interscience: Search full-text journal articles in many areas of science. Over 150 psychology publications.

These are general databases, not specifically psychology-related, but very good for information on health and current news:

  • Proquest Medical Library*: Collection of health and medical journals, magazines and newspapers, including 88 publications in psychology.
  • Social Sciences Full Text*: Social sciences focused collection including 88 psychology publications.
  • CINAHL: Primary resource for nursing and allied health journals.
  • Academic Search Premier*: Our most popular general index. Many full-text articles. Easy search and retrieval. Many older articles.
  • ProQuest Databases*: Excellent multi-subject index, with many full-text articles. Very easy to search.
  • WilsonWeb OmniFile Full-Text Mega*: Another multi-subject index. Lots of full-text.

*To limit search to peer-reviewed journals only, look for the check box labeled Peer-Reviewed, Scholarly, or Academic Journals on the database search screen (may be in Advanced Search)

Search Tips:

  • Combining keywords
    • 1. AND: acrophobia AND flying AND medication
      2. OR: bulimia OR anorexia
      3. NOT: paranoia NOT schizophrenia
  • Phrase searching: "Burrhus Frederic Skinner", "Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale"
  • Advanced Search: Use this frequently to determine your search options. This will save you TIME and FRUSTRATION!
  • Remember, the more words you use to search or the more limits you place on a search, the fewer results you will get. (How can you get more results?)
  • Always use the Print and Save functions embedded within the screen. It is usually not a good idea to use the File-Print or File-Save As functions in the upper left hand corner of the browser.
  • Use the online HELP screens - they really are helpful!

Finding Books in the library

Finding Books

Go to TOROFIND: the CSUDH Library Catalog and search on the title, author, subject or keyword. Look not only for that specific call number, but also check out the books in that section.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Torofind online catalog.

Click here for the Library's Book Borrowing Policies

  • If you don't see the right item listed, or want more titles, try an  on a few keywords (in separate boxes).
  • If you still don't find the right book, ask a reference librarian.

We also have an extensive collection of electronic books provided by several vendors: 

  • http://0-site.ebrary.com.torofind.csudh.edu/images/main/ebrary_logo_small.png
  • EBSCO LogoEBSCO eBook Collection
  • http://0-onlinelibrarystatic.wiley.com.torofind.csudh.edu/images/brand/footer-logo.png Online Library
  • http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/images/ucpress_rebrand.png Ebooks Collection
  • http://0-proquest.safaribooksonline.com.torofind.csudh.edu/static/201309-7389-proquest/images/6.0/logo.png
  • http://www.gale.cengage.com/gvrl/images/gvrl_header.png

Search these collections by author, title, subject or keyword.

Finding quality websites

These are indexes to quality web sites that have been reviewed by librarians. The sites have been checked for accuracy, timeliness, stability, and will generally conform to the standards of academic research. However, please be judicious in the use of websites in general, because anybody can put anything on the web.

  • Infomine (infomine.ucr.edu): A project from the Univeristy of California and other universities, it is a searchable index of websites specifically appropriate for university research. Click on SocSci & Humanities to search their specialized index.
  • Internet Public Library (www.ipl.org): Index of websites reviewed by librarians, geared toward the general public. Choose a topic from the index or use Advanced Search to search for keywords.
  • Evaluating Information on the Web: This is a very good checklist from the Pasadena City College Library for judging the quality of not only information on the Internet, but any information you may want to use for an assignment.

Citations and Plagiarism

Citing Your Sources

APA Citation Style

When writing a paper or completing a project for a class, you will almost always be asked to provide a bibliography of the materials that you used. Check a print or online citation guide in advance so you'll know what information about each information source to record before you begin your research.

APA style is the citation and formatting style created and used by the American Psychological Association. This comprehensive guide from the librarians at CSULA will help you use the APA citation style.

Click here for our tutorial on citing sources.

See the APA Formatting and Style Guide from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) for a much more in-depth guide.

Click here for a cheat-sheet on APA citation style [PDF].

What is plagiarism? - Plagiarism is "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft." (OED)  In essence, when you quote or paraphrase from somebody else's work without citing it, you are plagiarizing their work. Plagiarism is a serious matter, and could result in a lower or failing grade and even in your expulsion from university. Just rewording your work isn't enough to avoid plagiarism. Since you are still borrowing information heavily from another writer, you still need to include a citation.

But I didn't know! - Ignorance of the law is unfortunately no excuse. You can commit plagiarism without meaning to, and it's just as serious a problem if you do.

How can I avoid it? - You can avoid plagiarism by always citing your sources. Whenever you put a quotation or borrow information heavily from a source, be sure you include a citation in the proper style. This will let your professor know you aren't trying to pass the idea off as your own. Taking detailed notes on where you get your information helps a lot with this, since it prevents you from forgetting which is your own work and which is borrowed from others.

When writing a paper or completing a project for a class, you will usually be asked to provide a bibliography of the materials that you used. There are several standard guides available in the Library to help you. In addition, the Internet is a good place to search for style manuals and guides. The CSUDH Library has a summary of the formats most commonly used posted on the Library website. Take a look at this guide in advance so you'll know what information you need to jot down before you begin your research. It may be more difficult to retrace your steps than to make bibliographic note cards as you are working on your project.

For more detailed help, download our LIBRARY GUIDES (.doc format)