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Research Guide: Psychology

Subject Guide for Psychology

Psychology Research

There are many types of background materials: encyclopedias (both general and subject specific), handbooks, and dictionaries. Why use a background source? It can save you time by helping you with the groundwork.

  • Get an overview of a new or complex topic
  • Find out the names of key players in a given area
  • Locate terms that you can use in your research
  • Help narrow (or expand) your topic
  • Locate a bibliography of sources to help you start your research.

Popular vs. Scholarly

To find scholarly articles in a library database:

Psychology (General)

  • Annual Review of Psychology
  • Psychological Bulletin
  • Perspectives on Psychological Science
  • Psychological Methods
  • Psychological Review

Applied Psychology

  • Journal of Applied Psychology
  • Applied Psychological Measurement
  • Journal of Neuroscience Psychology
  • Journal of Applied Social Psychology

Biological Psychology

  • Biological Psychology
  • Evolution and Human Behavior
  • Biological Psychology

Child and Adolescent Psychology

  • Journal of Child Psychology
  • Journal of Abnormal Psychology
  • Journal of Research of Adolescence

Clinical Psychology

  • Annual Review of Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Child and Family Psychology
  • Clinical Psychologist

Cognition and Perception

  • Journal of Memory and Language
  • Body Image
  • Cognition and Emotion
  • Cognitive Development
  • Psychomusicology: music, mind and the brain

Counseling Psychology

  • Counseling Psychologist
  • The Career Development Quarterly
  • Journal of Counseling Psychology

Sport Psychology

  • Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  • Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology
  • Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

Psychology/General & Interdisciplinary

  • American Psychologist
  • Annual Review of Psychology
  • American Journal of Psychology
  • Review of General Psychology
  • Psychology of Women Quarterly

Social Psychology

  • Political Psychology
  • Psychology of Violence
  • Journal of Social Issues
  • Social and Personality Psychology

Original Research Articles

Psychological articles and many papers in the social sciences follow the writing guidelines and format dictated by the American Psychological Association (APA). In general, the structure follows: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and references.


A summary of the article. (Note: Abstracts appear in reviews or secondary articles as well.)


This section provides background information about the origin and purpose of the performing the experiment or study. It reviews previous research and presents existing theories on the topic.


Sometimes called "methodology" or "materials and methods," this section describes the author's research methods and tools: experiment, survey, data sources, etc.


Also called "findings," this is the section of the article in which raw data are presented.


Sometimes called "analysis," this is the section in which the author analyzes the data.


The author's conclusions based on the analysis.


List of references to works cited in the article.

These standard parts of a research article may not always be labeled, and sometimes they are combined (for example, "Data and Methods"). Still, every research article indicates what methods and tools were used to conduct the research, what the results were, and how the author interprets those results.

Other Types of Articles

Not every article in a scholarly journal contains research or analysis. Scholarly journals may also include:

  • Literature reviews - often reviews original research
  • Book reviews
  • Meta-Analysis or systematic reviews - analysis of original research 
  • Editorials or commentaries
  • Letters
  • Speeches and interviews
  • Conference reports

These are not original or primary research articles.