Finding Quality and Useful
How do I find journal articles
for my project?
- Ask the librarian to
show you how to use Psychological Abstracts-- it is a massive listing of everything
published in psychological journals. Look up your topic and then target articles
from journals whose titles are most similar to your course's title. Students
at the extended campuses
can find more information about resources for them at http://www.wku.edu/library/dlps/ext_camp.htm
- Use your textbook-- it
probably describes research studies relevant to your project-- look them up
in the text bibliography then take them to your librarian for help in locating
- Look in your textbook
bibliography and notice which journals are most frequently cited. These are
the major journals in the area. Go to the library, locate those journals in
the stacks. Take several off the shelf and thumb through them until you find
- Once you've found one
good one, look at its Reference section for articles on a similar topic.
- Look at the sample papers
provided for many of my courses. See what articles those students used. I'm
interested that you find a scholarly article that can serve as a rigorous
model of a psychology publication, and especially one pertinent for the course
topic as even within psychology there are different styles. Popular literature
is often misleading.
- Psychology majors ought
to learn which journals are APA or APS journals. These are generally among
the best in the particular field and will serve as good models or resources
for you. Ownership is revealed inside the front cover.
Why do I have to be so
careful about stuff I find on the Internet?
- You are in college to
learn to be a scholar, not a skimmer. The Web encourages superficial inspection
of the heritage of a document. It can be challenging to identify the real
source of a paper on the web and to know the actual identity of an author.
Scholarly journals have a track record, a reputation that can be trusted.
- Most professional journals
(but not all, therefore seek APA or APS ones) go through a rigorous review
process by experts in the field. You are assured of high quality information
in a print journal or it wouldn't be worth the added cost of printing it.
If you are looking at some on-line material--try to ascertain the credentials
of the persons who reviewed the information. Was it a "blind" review?
That is, were the reviewers kept in the dark about the identity of the author
of the paper?
- Some on-line journals
are peer-reviewed. Very slowly more scholarly psychology information is being
made available on-line. If you find something you are desperate to use, send
me the URL and a well-reasoned argument about its scholarly and trustworthy
nature. Tell me what its credentials are. Why should I (and, more importantly,
you) trust it?
- It isn't enough to find
a peer-reviewed journal from a publisher with a good reputation-- the article
must reflect the field and philosophy of behavior therapy. You can't necessarily
tell from a journal's title. If in doubt, show me. I look at their publication
style (do they use APA style?) and their theoretical approach (is it behavioral?).
Other clues: does it have "Behavior" in it's title? or perhaps "Addictions"
or "Development." Sometimes "Applied Psychology" is a
good hint. Avoid anything using terms like "consciousness," "humanistic,"
or "personality." Who's the publisher-- a national or international
psychology organization? (keep it) or some other field (e.g., counseling or
social work, -toss it). However, Psychology Today, does NOT qualify. It is
a magazine for the general public.
- As a student taking
a Kentucky class you have access to the Kentucky
Virtual Library (http://www.kyvl.org/). It is slowly growing to incorporate
more psychology resources. Be careful, sometimes all you can get is an abstract.
You'll have to go through interlibrary loan to get the entire article. Go
to Social Sciences. You'll need to deselect newspapers, Philosophy/Religion,
Sociology. Then you'll have to discard the articles that are not behavioral.
In other materials for your project I give you a suggested list of acceptable
journals. If you get your articles from these, you'll be safe. If they come
from another source (do I need to say it again!) show me. I don't want you
to have a poor example from which to work.
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created: June 1996. Page Created:
October, 1998. Last Modified: August 13, 2004.