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Psychological Research I Course Guide (Byrd-Fall 2011)   Tags: citations, psychology  

Last Updated: Oct 2, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Empirical vs. Theoretical Articles

  • Empirical Articles
    Report on research studies. Empirical Articles usually contain 1) an abstract 2) introduction 3) methods 4) results and 5) discussion. Using the PsycInfo database, you can limit your search results to empirical articles, only.
  • Theoretical Articles
    According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, "in theoretical articles, authors draw on existing research literature to advance theory." Such authors "trace the development of theory to expand and refine theoretical constructs or present a new theory or analyze existing theory, pointing out flaws or demonstrating the advantage of one theory over another. In this type of article, authors customarily examine a theory's internal consistency and external validity (2010.)"
  • APA Databases Methodology Field Values
    This listing provides information on the field values in APA databases. Concise definitions of empirical and theoretical studies are provided.

PsycInfo Empirical Search Example

This video shows how to set up a search for empirically-based articles in PsycInfo.  Use the full-screen option for best viewing.


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Research Databases

  • PsycInfo
    PsycINFO, American Psychological Association's (APA) resource for abstracts of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations, is the largest resource devoted to peer-reviewed literature in behavioral science and mental health. It contains over 2.5 million citations and summaries, and ninety-eight percent of the covered material is peer-reviewed.
  • Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection
    This database includes articles from 410 full-text journal covering information concerning topics in emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry & psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational & experimental methods.
  • Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print  
    MMYB contains full-text information on commercially-available, standardized English-language tests covering educational skills, personality, vocational aptitude, psychology, and related areas.
  • Additional Psychology Databases
    Use this link to access additional databases that will prove useful for research in psychology.


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