Beginning your research

Depending on your research idea, you'll want to find background information, perhaps from an encyclopedia or handbook. Why? Encyclopedias and handbooks can help you to:

  • Understand the psychological constructs and concepts associated with your research idea
  • Understand how the research on these constructs is broken down into sub-topics.
  • Identify important terms and vocabulary that can be used in further searching.



Annual Review of Psychology Cover Annual Review of Psychology

Use the Annual Review of Psychology to find overview essays or literature reviews that will list all of the important articles and books on a topic. These essays are incredibly useful starting points

Also try these encyclopedia and handbook databases


You may want to get an idea of how much information exists on your research idea and what psychologists are writing about it. Do a quick search in PsycInfo and see what you find.


Books can also be good sources for overview material. Use Albert to identify books in the SMC library.


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