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PSYC02: Scientific Communication in Psychology

A guide to assist UTSC students in this course to find and use library resources needed to successfully complete all assignments.

Workshop FAQs


Q: How to search for a newspaper article on a particular topic?
A: The Library's newspaper archives typically provide greater search capabilities than the public websites. Try searching the newspaper in the Library Catalogue and navigate to one of the [electronic resource] links; from there, check to see if the newspaper has a "search within this publication" option where you can look up articles on your particular topic (e.g. parenting study).

Q: How would you know the exact article to look for if the newspaper article doesn't mention authors or date of the study?
A: Look for as many clues in the text as you can. Other hints might include the funding agency, institution affiliation (e.g. a university name), study details such as sample size, direct quotes in the text, etc.


Q: What is the use of using "OR" in a search?
A: "OR" is used to combine synonyms or related concepts in a search. It will broaden your search to pull in articles which use different terminology around a shared concept (e.g. happiness OR well being OR life satisfaction).

Q: How to search for literature using other databases?
A: Many of the principles used for searching PsycINFO are transferable to other databases. To learn specifics, we can schedule a meeting to review the database(s) or you can stop by the Information and Reference Desk in the Library.

Q: Are these databases limited to journal articles? (i.e. how does locating other sources such as books work?)
A: Databases contain a variety of sources beyond journal articles, such as book chapters, conference proceedings, dissertations, etc. If you're specifically interested in looking for books, journals, and other media, the Library Catalogue is a good place to start.

Reviewing Articles

Q: Is there one article that better supports the original article than others, and if yes, how do you do this?
A: Read through the abstract of the study to get a better idea of what it's about, then skim through the article's full-text for other relevant details (the Introduction, Methods, and Discussion sections are particularly useful). It will then be up to you to compare the articles and decide which one you think is best suited to use.

Q: How can I search an article with complex theory and information?
A: Try a 'Title' search for the article in PsycINFO and go to its 'Complete Reference' if available. This page will summarize key information such as subject headings used to describe the contents of the article, which you can then use to build a search. You can also look through the article's full-text for author-supplied keywords and read the Abstract, Introduction, and/or Discussion sections to get summary statements for what the article is about.

Q: How do you limit confusion when lots of information is coming your way? How do I overcome the challenge of reading through all of it?
A: Start by narrowing down the number of results you're getting first, if possible. For example, about 100 results is a good number to aim for when searching in databases like PsycINFO. Use subject headings to search for key terms and combine these with limits such as empirical articles and peer-reviewed journals to help weed out irrelevant results. From there, scan the title and/or abstract of results and select any relevant studies to read in-depth.

Q: What to do if I cannot find a full article using library resources?
A: Feel free to email me for assistance or stop by the Information and Reference Desk in the Library. If UofT doesn't have the article, we can request it free of charge from another library.