The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience conducting a literature review, using PsycInfo, and obtaining journal articles. You will use the information you collect to write the Introduction Section of your research paper. You can work together with your partner on this project, as the information learned will help both of you conduct a good literature review. However, the content of the assignment (e.g., research articles and photocopied pages from Part 4) need to be different. Follow directions as listed below.
1. Identify a specific area of research in which
you are interested (i.e., your topic idea). For example, you might be
in whether aromatherapy can reduce stress. The more specific and clear
you are with this topic, the easier your research will be. Take your
and turn it into a research question (e.g., Does smelling lavender
2. Identify the key variables in the above
and write them below. You must have at least two variables (e.g.,
3. Sometimes relevant research is not found in
because people do not know the appropriate keywords for a search. This
next part of the assignment will help you expand the list of keywords
can use in your database searches. First, get into the PsycInfo
At the main search page, click on the "thesaurus" icon. Type your
(e.g., stress) in the "Browse for" field. Click on one or more of
the topics listed. This should give you a list of all the
and related keywords that psychologists use. Look through the list. In
the space provided below, write down any narrower, broader, or related
terms that may assist you in your search. After you have done
for one of your variables, repeat the process for the other variable
listed in Part 2. There is a book entitled Thesaurus of
Index Terms, which is on reserve in the library and can be used for
this part of the assignement.
Variable 1 Variable 2
4. Using the terms identified in #3, consult the
psychological encyclopedias, handbooks, or dictionaries discussed in
library presentations (e.g., Encyclopedia of Psychology, survey of
Sciences, Dictionary of Behavioral Sciences, and the Encyclopedic
of Psychology) and locate general background information on your key
on how variables are defined or measured by psychologists, and what
are associated with these variables. Photocopy the pages that
with your key terms and variables and staple them to this handout. Be
to write down the complete reference of each source and include the
on the photocopied pages.
5. Get into PsycInfo to search for current journal articles or book chapters related to your topic. Search for one variable (e.g., aromatherapy) first then the other variable (e.g., stress). Click on "search history" to combine the first two searches by searching "S1" and S2." If you still have hundreds or even thousands of "hits", try adding another variable and recombine your results. If you can not find many or any articles related to your variables, then use broader key terms.
Skim through the abstracts for each article and, on a separate sheet of paper provide the following information about 5 journal articles (1984-present) or book chapters. Be sure to answer to answer each of the questions for each of the five articles you choose. Do not simply highlight the abstract printouts. Do not include any articles that are written in a foreign language or are dissertations. For each article/ book chapter, type following information on a separate piece of paper and attach it to this handout.