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PSYC 200: Measurement and Data Analysis in Psychology

Professor Ken Abrams - Spring 2019

Questions to ask yourself while you're researching

1.  What discipline or disciplines am I working in? Are there other disciplines that might cover the same question?
Some tools:

·   Subject research guides

·   Databases by subject

2.   What sources do I already have and how can I use them to find more research?
Do they mention other sources of information or data (bibliography)?
Do they use specific terminology or wording?
Do they talk about particular places, people, or agencies?

3.   What type of literature or information do I need?
Who might collect that information?
Who would be interested in it?

4.   How and where will I search for the information I need?

5.   How will I access the information that I find?

6.   What keywords or terms could be used to describe my topic?

7.   After running a few searches: What results am I getting? Am I getting too many results?  Too few?

8.   What refinements should I make to my search in light of those results?

9.   How will I use the results that I’ve found?

10. What information am I still missing?

Reading Instrumentally

When you're reading through articles, you're probably used to reading to find information relevant to your topic. But keep an eye out for these other aspects to help you find even more relevant articles:

  • Authors that show up a lot.
  • Journals that publish in the area you're interested in.
  • Words or phrases that might better describe your topic.
  • Other articles that are cited that may be relevant.

Example for the topic of virtual reality for the treatment of phobias.

Tortella-Feliu, M., Botella, C., Llabrés, J., Bretón-López, J., del Amo, A., Baños, R. M., & Gelabert, J. M. (2011). Virtual reality versus computer-aided exposure treatments for fear of flying. Behavior Modification, 35(1), 3-30.

        Many computer-assisted treatment procedures have been developed for use in clinical psychology. In parallel, a surge of research in this new field has provided increasing evidence that several kinds of computer-assisted treatment procedures are highly effective in treating anxiety disorders, especially phobic disorders (Cuijpers, Marks, van Straten, Cavanagh, & Andersson, 2009; Krijn, Emmelkamp, Olafsson, & Biemond, 2004; Marks, Cavanagh, & Gega, 2007a; Parsons & Rizzo, 2008; Powers & Emmelkamp, 2008). Depending upon the type of technology used and the main goals for using computers and other electronic devices in psychological treatment, at least two broad categories of computer-assisted treatments have emerged: virtual reality (VR) and computer-aided psychotherapy. We fully recognize, as do other authors (e.g., Marks & Cavanagh, 2009; Marks et al., 2007a) that the distinction between these categories is fuzzy; however, until recently, research on VR and other computer-based psychological treatments has evolved independently as two separate research paths.

Keeping track

While you're researching, keep track of what you're finding and how you're searching. 

There's no right way to keep track, the best method is the one that you will use.

Some things to keep track of...


  • Where did you search?
  • Which search terms did you use?
    • which worked well?
    • which didn't?


  • What did you find?
  • How will it help you?
  • How can you get to it again?
    • URL for webpage,
    • folder location if you've downloaded an article,
    • call number of a book or map