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Literature Review - PSYCH 102

This guide is created to help students complete the literature review for Psychology 102

Why Is Terminology So Important?

Once you've created your preliminary research questions, you can begin to search for answers. Most research will begin with you typing some words into a box to begin finding information. But what words should you use?

Formal search tools like library catalogs and research databases often use a controlled vocabularywhich are formally-established subject headings or descriptors. 

This short video below illustrates the difference between searching using subject headings and searching using keywords.


Are You Ready To Delve Into the Literature?

If you have done your background reading and have an idea of the issues on which you want to focus, then you're ready to dive in and explore what experts are saying about it. You'll want to look at different aspects of your topic to give your paper breadth and depth.

Brainstorm Search Terms

To find information that is relevant to your topic you need to know what words to use for searching.

How Do You Find The Search Terms You Need?

The discipline of psychology has a great tool called, the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms that you can use in MJC's east campus library. The thesaurus shows you words that different search engines and research tools use to organize their information to make it searchable. You can also use it to discover terms that are related to your topic in case you need to broaden or narrow your search.


In addition, Library catalogs and many other search tools use Library of Congress Subject Headings to describe the content of all of their books, eBooks, CDs, DVDs, etc.  Useful subject headings for psychology are:

psychology
psychology pathological
psychology, applied
developmental psychology
social psychology
human behavior
interpersonal communication
mental health (you can also use specific conditions as a subject, i.e., schizophrenia)

Research Tips

Use the relevant articles you find to help you discover additional literature on your topic:

  • Use authors as search terms
  • Use references to other studies mentioned within your articles
  • Use references lists at the end of your articles
  • Look at book reviews to learn about  new scholarship

Why Use Databases:

The MJC Library subscribes to many databases filled with authoritative articles, book chapters, research reports, statistics, and more from thousands of respected publications. You can search these article databases either by topic or for a specific article.

Using the Library's article databases ensures that you're using sources your instructors expect you to use, and you won't have to cull through millions of unrelated Web pages that will waste your time and energy.

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All of these resources are free for you because you are a student at MJC. If you're working from anywhere off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database simply enter your student ID and six-digit birth date.

 

Find Articles:

The MJC Library subscribes to many databases filled with authoritative articles, book chapters, research reports, statistics, and more from thousands of respected publications. 

click to go to articles and databases