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Psychology 100: Critical Thinking Topics assignment

This guide has been created to provide assistance for students in PSYC 100 who are working on their critical thinking topics assignment.

Lesson 5: Where to find research method info

You'll notice that every item indexed in PsycINFO provides you with a detailed record.  A detailed record consists of a variety of fields, most notably the title, author, abstract, keywords, subjects, and methodology fields. Scanning these fields may provide you with clues to help you determine what research method was used, and it will also help you to screen out any literature review articles.  (The critical thinking topics assignment clearly states that you cannot use literature review articles for this assignment.)

You can pull up the detailed record for any of your search results by clicking on the item's title.  Below is what a detailed record looks like.  I've highlighted the areas you should look at in order to help figure out what research methodology was used.  If, after scanning the detailed record, you're still not sure what kind of research article you're looking at, you may want to view the article (if it's available) and scan it to see if there's a research methods, or methodology section that can provide the answers you seek. 

If there's no methods section in the article you found, chances are it's not a research article.  It may be a book review, or a letter to the editor, or a rebuttal to some previously published research.

screenshot of the detailed view of a record in psycinfo

 

Don't use literature reviews for this assignment!

Because this assignment asks you to avoid literature review articles, similar to above, if you see the words "literature review," or "review," mentioned anywhere in the title, abstract, or methodology areas of the detailed record, it's a literature review, and not the kind of article you should be using for this assignment.  (Literature reviews are normally really useful as they summarize the research on a topic, but for this particular assignment you want to avoid them.)

screenshot of an example of a literature review article

screenshot of an example of a literature review article

 

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