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The purpose of this research guide is to help students find information about psychology.

Choosing a Topic

How to Choose a Topic

An excellent starting point for browsing psychological research topics is the Mental Health and Behavior list from MedlinePlus.

Most of these topics are very broad. You may wish to narrow them by reflecting on aspects of treatment or how these topics reflect particular populations. For example, if you'd like to study bipolar disorder, perhaps you could focus on just treatments for bipolar disorder. If you would like to study self-harm, you could limit your study to self-harm among African Americans. If you're examining panic disorder, you could narrow your focus ot panic disorder among veterans.


What Is Your Research Topic?

Once you have made a decision, you should generate keywords. Keywords are search terms that you use when searching for information about your topic. The above video explains how you can write keywords. Watch it, then continue reading this section.

Let's pose an example: you're writing about the impact of romantic breakups on the academic performance of college students. Your keywords could include:

  • Treatments for bipolar disorder
  • Self-harm among African Americans
  • Panic disorder among veterans

When writing keywords or even starting social sciences research, it can be very helpful to get some background information first. A database like CREDO Reference is useful for this task. Read an article or two about your topic so that  you become more familiar with it. This will make it easier to select keywords and to know if information sources that you find are actually relevant. For example, reading an article like this one about panic disorder could suggest to you keywords that include:

  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • fear

Articles from Databases

Database Basics

Now that you have keywords, it's time to search the databases. Have you used the databases before? If you don't have recent experience with our library's databases, then I suggest watching this introductory video.

Databases to Explore

The video embedded above shows you how to search Academic Search Complete, which is one of the four databases ideal for social sciences research. All four of these databases are structured the same way, so the tutorial video applies to all of them.


How to Search eBooks

We have two excellent ebook databases. These let you read full-text books online. The interfaces can be confusing, so I have included a tutorial video for each one.

The video above shows you how to search the ebook database titled EBSCO eBook Collection.

The video above shows you how to search the database ProQuest EBook Central.

APA Documentation

How to Cite Your Sources in APA 7

This is our video that introduces APA documentation. I urge you to watch the entire video carefully before starting to write your paper or annotated bibliography. It is much easier to cite correctly as you go along, rather than try to fix your documentation after you have written your paper. This is our complete APA guide, which goes into more detail about citing sources and formatting correctly.

It includes our sample paper. When you're writing a paper, you can model the formatting of your paper after this one. If you are unsure how to set up the formatting in Microsoft Word so that it fits the requirements for APA formatting, you could instead download this blank Word document that has the formatting already set up for you.

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