Psychology: BEHL 2005: Introductory Research Methods

Assignment Help

Assessment details

This page is designed to support completion of your APA style research report.

image of information icon Refer to your course outline and course site for the full assessment details.

Is it an 'academic' source?

Literature review

Start by identifying the key concepts in your research topic and brainstorm around synonyms and alternative terms for each concept. Once you have your list of terms, you can combine them to create a search strategy. 

For this assessment, the Library Collection is a good place to start to locate scholarly resources, but you may also find it useful to extend your search by using PsycINFO and Google Scholar.

The Library Collection is an important source of books and articles for your assignment. Use the Library Collection to search across much of the material in the Library's collection.

For example, if you are interested in looking at statistics anxiety and gender, you could search

These are just a few examples. Try different keywords and combinations of keywords.

Need more info? Check out our How to guides below. 


In this assignment, you need to "obtain descriptive statistics and conduct inferential tests using SPSS".

Here are a few tutorials and other resources to help you build your skills with SPSS:

PsycINFO in focus

PsycINFO is the key database for finding international peer reviewed literature in behavioural science and mental health. If you are studying psychology it is important to become familiar with searching PsycINFO.

The Collection will help you find some material, but PsycINFO has a few advantages:

  • limited to material of relevance to your discipline - psychology!
  • advanced features, such as Subject Headings (thematic tags) and limits (e.g. age groups) especially suited to psychology
  • most journal articles are peer reviewed

There are several possible ways to search PsycINFO.

Using APA Subject Headings is a powerful way to find relevant material in an area, especially if you are unfamiliar with a topic - then you do not need to know all of the relevant terminology.

Example: Advanced Search - map to APA thesaurus heading (subject terms)

Example PsycINFO search for 'student anxiety' [Image source: Ovid]

Searching for the phrase student anxiety maps to potentially relevant APA Subject Headings Anxiety and Student Attitudes. Another search for statistics maps directly to the same term in the thesaurus. Terms can be combined via the Search History using AND to find only records with your chosen subject headings.

Using PsycINFO thesaurus terms - combining searches [Image source: Ovid]

You can keep adding terms, making different combinations, and also add limits.

See the APA video on How (and Why) to Use the APA Thesaurus When Searching PsycINFO via OvidSP

Where there are no appropriate subject headings, and if you want to ensure your search is more thorough, combine subject terms with keywords (free text terms).

Sometimes simple free text searches are more comprehensive, but locate a lot of irrelevant results. Experiment with different search strategies and combinations of terms to achieve a balance between being comprehensive and having a reasonable number of results to work with.

Example of undertaking a simple, one-box search in PsycINFO

Changing the search to (student* and attitude* and (learn* statistic* or statistic* course*)) will remove some potentially relevant results but improves overall relevancy of the results.

To find studies where specific tests and measures have been used, restrict the search to the Tests and Measures field. Either:

  • add the right code for the field - for example (student* AND attitude*).tm
  • use the Multi-Field Search option and choose Tests & Measures from the drop-down box

- Asterisk * finds alternative word endings e.g. learn* finds learn, learner, learners, learning...
- Two or more words typed next to each other will default to a phrase search

You may find these useful...

English Language
to filter out foreign language material

if articles are focused on animals and you want humans to be the focus

Peer Reviewed Journal
to just find articles from these journals

Empirical Study
to find 'study based on facts, systematic observation, or experiment, rather than theory or general philosophical principle'

Population Group
to specify Male, Female or both

We suggest that you avoid using...

Full Text
you may find the full text using the Find it link - this limit could remove records for material to which you do have access

PsycARTICLES Journals
restricts your search to 110 APA journals, down from the over 2,000 covered by PsycINFO

APA Style

The Academic Writer Tutorial: Basics of Seventh Edition APA Style provides an introduction to the seventh edition APA style and is designed for writers new to the style.

APA style tutorial

Learn about referencing using the seventh edition APA style in this interactive tutorial from JCU Library. Create a reference for a book, a journal article and and a webpage. Tutorial on referencing using APA 7