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Psychology: Finding Research Articles

Resources for students

Searching Tips

Here are some search tips that work for all databases:

►Use quotation marks around phrases, such as "decision making"

►Combine terms with "AND" (capital letters)

What to Look for in a Research Article

Parts of a Research Article

The following video from the Writing Center at the University of Colorado at Denver, will help you know what to look for and what it means:

Journals vary somewhat in their layout and how parts are labeled, but there are parts that any research article will include:

  •  An Abstract: a short description at the beginning, summarizing the subject of the research, usually saying something about the nature of the experiment and conclusions drawn
  • An extended Introduction, which often includes a review of previous literature on the subject
  • A section, normally labeled Methods or Methodology, where the "how" of the experiment is described
    • It typically includes a subsection on participants or subjects (in animal experiments this is usually quite short, limited to a number of animals, species, and strain. In human experiments the explanation is longer and often includes how they were chosen
  • A Results section which generally includes statistics, tables, and/or graphs
  • A Discussion, where the results are interpreted and implications discussed; there may be a statement of further research that is needed
  • A Conclusion, which is sometimes separate and sometimes part of the Discussion

Searching for Psych Articles in Proquest


Proquest top navigation bar, showing Databases link

  1. Click the Proquest link on the library's Database page
  2. Click Databases in the Proquest navigation menu
  3. Scroll down the long list of databases and choose Psychology Database

psychology datatabase link, with indicator to click on the database name




Looking for a Research Article

1. In the Proquest Psychology Database, search for a research topic in which you are interested, for example,

attention AND music

It may be  helpful to choose terminology from your textbook. ►Tip: Use quotation marks around phrases, such as "decision making"

2. Check "Peer Reviewed" in the Limit To section of the page.

3. Optional: It may be helpful to go to Document Type in the Limit To section and click "More" to see all document types. Look for a type called "Report" and check to Include. (You can sort the document types by clicking Document type in the popup box.)

Note: If an article is labeled a "case study" or "case report," it is not a research article.

Searching for Psych Articles in Medline via PubMed


Click on Medline via PubMed on the library's database page.

Search for a research topic in which you may be interested, for example,

"locus of control"

Medline has an Article Type limiter that you can use to choose a research article by checking "Randomized Controlled Trial."

Medline article type limiter, showing Randomized Controlled Trial checked

Depending on your topic, some medical articles may be mixed in with psychology articles, so look at the journal title. All the psychology journals to which Chemeketa subscribes are covered in Medline.

Chemeketa Check for Full Text iconWhen you click on an article title, the resulting screen will have the abstract of the article. There is a button to check for full text in Chemeketa, which opens a Primo library search page in a new tab.  If Chemeketa has the article in electronic form, a link will be displayed in the View It area.

Searching And Limiting Video

The following video does not use an example from psychology, but it shows you how to search in Medline and limit to research articles.

Searching for Psych Articles in Science Direct

The ScienceDirect database has many articles in psychology research.  On the database page, click ScienceDirect.

On the first line of the Advanced Search page, put your search terms.

On the second line (optional) choose a psych journal to search in.  They typically have words in the title such as "cognitive, cognition, behavior, personality" or various flavors of "psychology." If you accidentally choose a book title,

ScienceDirect advanced search screen showing "in this journal or book title" linw partly filled in

ScienceDirect research articles are conveniently labeled "Research Article" above the article title. There is a checkbox for Research Articles you can use.  It is in the Refine By area of the results page.