Skip to Main Content

Psychology Courses & Research

1. Scholarly versus "other" sources

image is of an employee drawing a flow chart on a whiteboard

A periodical is a publication that is published on a semi-regular basis. An assignment asking for you to utilize scholarly sources will rely on scholarly journals. There are times, however, that you are being asked to report on more popular material. Because much of our information is found online and many of the indicators of what type of source the article comes from has been stripped away by the databases, it is important you can determine the different types of periodicals from each other. Keep in mind, your information needs should always determine the information you seek. 

  • Scholarly journals (also called academic journals, peer-reviewed journal, or refereed journals) contain articles on original research written by experts in a field of study. The purpose of this publication is to present original research to other scholars. 
  • Trade publications (also called trade journals, or professional journals) contain articles written by professionals to further educate or build skills within a particular trade or industry. The purpose of this publication is to provide practical advice to other professionals.
  • Popular magazines contain articles written for a general audience and are typically written by journalists. The purpose of this information is to entertain or inform a general audience.

2. PsychINFO

3. Research as inquiry

Going into your search with a preconceived answer to your question will lead to confirmation bias in your search results. This will keep you from true inquiry.

Here are some tips from Caufiled (2017):

  1. Avoid asking questions that imply a certain answer.
  2. Avoid using terms that imply a certain answer.
  3. Avoid culturally loaded terms. 
  4. Plan to reformulate.
  5. Scan results for better terms.

In addition, use Advanced Search (no matter the database or search engine) and separate your search into keywords and short phrases across the multiple boxes. 

4. Pull citation where possible (and correct against manual or Purdue OWL)



ProQuest Central (ProQuest)



Google Scholar

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: