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Monmouth College Hewes Library

Research Checklist

Psychology Research Checklist


1. READ BACKGROUND INFORMATION  in encyclopedias, textbooks, book chapters

  • Print reference books - browse call numbers BF, HM-HT, RM-RS
  • Online reference books – see “Reference” tab on library homepage



3.  CONCEPTS:  identify the CONCEPTS in my topic and realize that I may do several different searches.

  • e.g. How could garden or horticultural therapy could benefit autistic children?
  • search SPECIFICALLY:
    • garden AND autis*
    • garden AND autis* AND children
    • (garden OR horticultur*) AND autis*
    • (garden OR horticultur*) AND autis* AND children
  • search THIS therapy within ANY population:
    • (garden OR horticultur*) AND therapy
  • search  ANY therapy type with THIS population:
    • therapy AND autis* AND children


4.  THESAURUS:  utilize the PsycInfo THESAURUS for related disciplinary words for my topic


5.  AUTHORITY: what are the foundational texts and important authors in this subject area?

  • Search library catalogs (MC, I-Share, WorldCat) for research books to give context
  • Who is being cited frequently?
  • ENCYCLOPEDIAs give context to a topic and name important figures


6. OTHER DATABASES (e.g. Medline, SportDiscus) - See suggestions on the research guide webpage (Scholarly Articles tab)


7. EVALUATE what you find

  • Date article was written
  • Read the abstract: is it relevant to me?
  • Type of article:  does the article summarize the work of others’ research (review article) or does it report on original research (empirical research)?


8. FOLLOW THE TRAIL: How can I find more like this?

  • What else has the AUTHOR written? Conduct an author search in the database.
    • Who did the author cite? (going backward in time)
    • Who cited the author? (going forward in time)
      • “Cited References” in PsycInfo
      • “Cited by” in Google Scholar
  • SUBJECT field of the database


  • Save search history
  • Mark citations, email to yourself, and/or upload to Google Drive
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