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Psychology: Getting Started

Getting Started

Before you Begin: Know the Assignment

  • What type of a research assignment is this? An annotated bibliography, literature review, or research paper?
  • What question are you trying to answer, or what topic are you hoping to explore?
  • Is there more than one part to the assignment?
  • How many resources are required?
  • What types of resources are required?
  • Are there any other requirements--like that articles are based on empirical research--to consider?
  • When is the assignment due?

Before Searching

  • What is your thesis? Unless you are writing a creative paper, you should have a thesis that you are trying to support.
  • What are the keywordsin your thesis statement or in the question you are trying to answer? These will become your search terms.
    Example Thesis: "Modeling therapy is an effective treatment for phobias."
    Example Keywords: "Modeling therapy", treatment, phobia
  • Brainstorm additional search terms by finding words with similar meanings.
    Example 1, Keyword "Treatment": technique, method, approach
    Example 2, Keyword "Phobia": fear, anxiety, aversion (related words)

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