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PSYCH 122 - Research Methods

Use this guide to complete your Psychology 122 research assignment

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.

Search Terms

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, videos, etc.  Useful subject headings for psychology are:

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)

Use the Database Subject Terms Indexes to Discover New Search Terms
  • In our Gale Databases, that type of search is called a Subject Guide Search, and you can access the Subject Guide Search feature at the very bottom of the main first screen when you click on Gale Databases.
  • In our EBSCOHost Databases, you'll find the subject heading search at the top of the database home screen. Click on the Subjects drop down menu and select Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection Subjects. You'll see the index and can search for index terms to use in your database searches.

Use Library Database to Find Articles

How to Use Library Databases:

The literature you find in articles is generally much more up-to-date than the information in books because periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers) are published much more quickly. Using our library databases will help you find current research on your topic. 

This short video shows you how to navigate our Article & Databases page:


Access Library Databases:

Click the button below to access our Articles & Databases page.

Click button to access Articles and Databases

Use the Web for Research

Use Google to find scholarly literature available on the web.

Did you know you can:

  • Find articles, books, and reports using Google Scholar,
  • Find court opinions,
  • Search by author or title,
  • Sort by date, and more.

Learn more about Google Scholar at Google Scholar Search Tips

Google Scholar Search

Research Tips & Search Techniques

You're busy, so any strategy that will make your work faster and produce better results is welcome. Did you know that you can use different search techniques in library catalogs, article databases, and the Web to find just what you need quickly? 

Research Tips

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

  • Use authors, theorists, or theories 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

Search Techniques:

Adding a few search techniques to your search will help you search more quickly and effectively.

Check out the short videos below introducing you to some of the most common techniques you should master: Narrowing your Search, Boolean Searching, and Using Subject Headings.

How to Go from a Broad Search to a More Focused Narrow Search

This video, created by The University of Guelph McLaughlin Library, is being shared unchanged using the CC By-NC-SA 4.0 license.


Use Boolean Searching to Control Your Search to Get the Results You Want

YouTube video on effective search strategies from EmilyatChemLib. | Time - 3:03 mins.


Learn to Use the Database Index Terms to Search Like a Pro

Video from the Wellington Medical and Health Sciences Library. | Time - 1:56 min.