Psychology (PSYC) 250: Developmental Psychology
Move from a Topic to Searchable Concepts
When we search for a topic in library databases, we need to focus on identifying its basic concepts as well as alternative keywords.
Sample Topic: What mental health challenges do elderly Latino immigrants face?
Mental health -- Mental illness
Elderly -- Older adults, aged
Latino -- Latin American
Immigrants -- Refugees
Use the same strategy with your own topic to start finding
empirical and peer-reviewed articles on your topic.
Search for Empirical and Peer-Reviewed Articles
Most databases require precision in the way you create your searches.
Below are the most common commands used in databases with examples of how to use them.
Select Empirical and Peer-Reviewed Articles
The information included in the boxes below can guide you through the evaluation process and help you identify if the article is empirical
Additionally, when searching in the databases above, you can limit your results to 'Peer-Reviewed' articles.
Empirical articles must report new data/findings.
A good first step to identify if an article is empirical is to read the Abstract or Summary:
- Does the author mention terms like study, observation, analysis, data, participants, etc.?
- Does the author discuss the methods used in their research?
You can also skim the headings used in the paper:
- Is there a Methods or Methodology section?
- Is there a Discussion or Results section?
Often, 'yes' answers to these questions mean you have identified an empirical article.
Many empirical articles are also peer-reviewed.
This means that other authors or scholars in the specific field or discipline reviewed or commented on the article prior to its publication.
Peer-reviewed articles can add an extra layer of authority to your discussions and arguments.
Databases as well as the journals' websites can help you determine if empirical articles are peer-reviewed.