Use this link for the Virtual Library and the database searches provided by Discovery Search Services of EBSCO if you are on campus or, if you are off campus, log in to your myBSC account and select the "off campus" option. The Virtual library has access to over 150,000 eBooks and 5,000+ online periodicals.
This link will take you to a page showing every database - organized A-Z - you have access to through Bryant & Stratton. Each database should have a description which will tell you what type of information you will find in the database.
Determine keywords for your research topic. Avoid sentences or long phrases.
Add one of these keyword phrases to your search:
Or add more than one to create a larger search string:
Your entire search might look like:
Primary sources are the immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic from people who are directly connected to it.
Primary sources that describe original research, clinical trials for example, will be published as peer-reviewed journal articles. But this does not mean that all journal articles are primary sources. Primary articles will describe one research project or study. The text of the article will usually include, at minimum:
These elements are usually summarized in a structured abstract, in which the abstract is split into sections, although not all journals require structured abstracts.
Secondary sources are one or more steps removed from the primary sources, though the often quote, reference, or otherwise use the primary source.
Secondary sources are best identified by their use of primary articles as source material. Examples of secondary sources include: review articles, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Other sources, such as practice guidelines and expert topic summaries are usually considered secondary as well (although some would argue that they are tertiary since they reference both primary and secondary sources). Secondary sources, especially systematic reviews, are written under specific guidelines and protocols and often include methods sections and abstracts. So the presence of these sections are not necessarily an indication of a primary source. Many secondary sources that are published in peer-reviewed journals will also include an abstract, although many are not structured abstracts and if they are, often contain different section headers.
To conduct and publish an experiment, an author or team of authors designs an experiment, gathers data, then analyzes the data and discusses the results of the experiment. A published experiment or research study will therefore look very different from other types of articles (newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays, etc.) found in the library databases.
In fact, newspapers, magazines, and websites written by journalists report on psychology research all the time, summarizing published experiments in non-technical language for the general public. Although that kind of article can be interesting to read (and can even lead you to look up the original experiment published by the researchers themselves), to write a research paper about a psychology topic, you should, generally, use experimental articles written by researchers. The following guidelines will help you recognize an experimental article, written by the researchers themselves and published in a scholarly journal.
Typically, an experimental article has the following sections:
Also, experimental/empirical articles are written in very formal, technical language (even the titles of the articles sound complicated!) and will usually contain numerical data presented in tables. Because primary research articles are written in technical language by professional researchers for experts like themselves, the articles can be very hard to understand. However, if you carefully review the introduction, results, and discussion sections, you will usually be able to understand and use one or two main ideas that the author is trying to get across, like why their experiment is important, and what results they discovered.