Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University Washington and Lee University The University Library

Course Guide for Psyc120:

Quantitative Literacy in the Behavioral Sciences

Spring Term 2007, Professor Fulcher

Prepared by Mary Abdoney, Science Librarian

This guide will direct you through the research process, but you may have questions that are not answered on this guide.  Be sure to begin your research early in case you need help from a librarian!

Step One:  Finding Background Information

Start your research by searching the W&L catalog, Annie, to gather background information on your topic.  Use a simple keyword search to locate books and other media.  You may have to do several different searches to find all the items you need.  Go to the Annie help page to get tips on searching.

Selected Sources

Research Methods

Research methods in psychology Leyburn Archives (Faculty Publications)

Handbook of research methods in developmental science BF713.5 .H36 2005 Science Library

Handbook of research methods in experimental psychology BF76.5 .H35 2003 Science Reference

Measuring behaviour : an introductory guide BF76.5 .M35 1993 Science Library

Essentials of psychological testing BF176 .U73 2004 Science Library

Essentials of research design and methodology BF76.5 .M317 2005 Science Library

Data & Analysis

An intermediate guide to SPSS programming : using syntax for data management HA32 .B67 2005 Leyburn Reference Office

A Handbook for data analysis in the behavioral sciences : methodological issues BF39 .H26435 1992 Science Library

A Handbook for data analysis in the behavioral sciences : statistical issues BF39 .H264371992 Science Library

Statistical models in behavioral research BF39 .E72 1991 Science Library


Guide to publishing in psychology journals BF76.8 .G85 2000 Science Library

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association BF76.7 .P83 2001 Science Reference

Concise rules of APA style BF76.7 .C66 2005 Science Reference

Step Two: Finding Journal Articles

What are journal articles?  Journal articles contain much more specialized information than books and other monographs.  Since the turnaround time for publication is shorter, the information is very current.  You should be aware of the difference between scholarly journal articles and popular ones.  Use W&L's Online Databases to find journal articles related to your topic.

Why look at journal articles?  Before you begin any research project, you must become familiar with any other research that has been conducted previously.  This is where the literature review comes in.  Researchers perform a literature review to make sure there is a need for their original research, and to discover gaps in the research that they may want to fill.  Researchers often include a literature review in their final publication to familiarize the reader with previous research.

Selected Online Databases to find Journal Articles

PsycINFO  This is the best database for psychologists to use.  It is the most comprehensive, with entries dating back to 1887.  1500 journals indexed, updated weekly.

PsycArticles  Not as comprehensive as PsycINFO, but contains full-text.  All contents of PsycArticles are incorporated into PsycINFO.

Annual Review of Clinical Psychology  Synthesis of the primary literature in Clinical Psychology.  Published annually, with full-text access from 2005.

APA Journals  Not ideal for searching, but is a great tool to browse the journals published by APA.

PubMed / MEDLINE  Geared toward the medical fields, contains some information on behavioral therapies, clinical trials, experimental psychology, and other neurosciences

Finding the full-text of the article

Step Three: Synthesizing and Writing Your Paper

This is the most important part of the assignment, but many students neglect some very important details.  If you are having trouble getting started, formatting your paper, or confused about language use, visit the Writing Center.  The following is a list of online resources that will help you through the process.

Selected University Libraries Resources

Documentation Styles in the Sciences

Journal Abbreviations in the Sciences

Language Reference

Research Strategies

Other W&L Resources for Psychology

Set Up a Research Appointment