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Psychology Literature Review   Tags: cognitive social learning, literature review, psychology, psychstat project  

Key word ideas and research strategies
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Psychology Components

Perform a literature review.  Include a summary of the literature that you reviewed to your topic.  You must include a works cited with a minimum of five citations.



Use a general search term first, such as 'Cognitive social learning'.   You will likely find words within the articles, which you may use for further, more specific searches.  Examples:  decision making, time and motion studies, effectiveness studies, adaptation, psychological, operant conditioning, behaviorism, conditioned reflex.

If you base your study on the work of a psychologist, your first search may involve use that person's name as your search term.  Examples: Stanley Milgram, Solomon Asch, Pavlov, Sigmund Freud, etc.

You can also use the term 'Literature review', along with your subject.  Example:  Literature review AND social psychology AND prejudice.

Other miscellaneous search terms:  eyewitness memory, social judgment and cognition, social influence, discrimination, group process, conditioning and learning, metacognition, social cognitive theory.


Database searching

Start your searching by logging onto the Student page on the Prep website.  Click on 'Research Databases' on the left side of the page.  This gives you access to 'Research Databases and Passwords', on the left side of the page.  Use this to link to your selected databases. 

Best sources include:

ProQuest:  The default setting is for an advanced search; click on 'Peer Reviewed' to ensure the most scholarly articles.  Read the abstract to assess the article's relevance to your topic.  Remember that you can save all of your selected articles, either in 'My Research' (you'll need to make yourself an account, which is quick and easy) or by emailing them to yourself.  You can also cite your article in APA format, which is ProQuest's default setting.

JSTOR:   Always do an advanced search and be sure to check the box 'article', so that you're not reading book reviews.  Use your personal username and password.  If you have never used JSTOR before, follow the link on the Prep homepage to create your personal login.  This allows you to save searches.  Be aware that many JSTOR articles are filled with jargon.  If the technical terms render the article unintelligible, find another article that is more readable.  If you need to print your article, remember that you must convert it to a pdf; otherwise, you'll only print the first page.

Gale:  Perform a cross-search of all searchable products.  This database is useful to find education periodicals, though not necessarily peer-reviewed.  As with the other two databases, you may email the article to yourself, or a partner, and find the citation information.



This Penn State professor gives a lecture about "learned helplessness".  Use caution when viewing YouTube videos.  Experts' videos trump student-made videos for content; however, both types may give you an idea for your own study topic.

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Citation in APA format

Purdue OWL has all the tools you need to create your APA-style citation.  If you're feeling ambitious, ask the librarians about NoodleTools, which will create a proper APA bibliography for you!  It is similar to Easy Bib, but has a variety of great research components and requires a subscription. 


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