Literature Search and Project Pl

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					Research Ideas &
Literature Search
     PSYC 350
  January 20, 2010
 Research Ideas
How to find a “good” question
    for your final paper…
           The Research Process

                       Decide on a research Idea

     Report your Findings                       Formulate Hypothesis

Analyze the Data*                            Define and Measure Variables

      Conduct the Study                          Recruit Participants

                          Select a Research Design
                         Main Issues
• Interest
  Motivation, enthusiasm, enjoyment, curiosity…
  If you like it, you will do a good job. Do not focus on tedious projects.

• Homework
  Books, journals, internet, friends…
  Knowledge is everything.

• Focus
  General to specific is preferred (theory-driven)
  Sometimes it goes the opposite way. You observe a funny detail and you find
  yourself thinking what it means in the “big picture”.
               Common Sources
•   Personal Interest (guns, cars, sports)
•   Casual Observation (people in elevators)
•   Practical Problems (How does this work?)
•   Inspiration (Sir Isaac Newton and the apple)
•   Reading (maybe you do not believe what you read)
•   Theory (do not bite off more than you can chew)

                  Common Mistakes
•   No Interest (Some people just want “a degree” …)
•   Not asking “strange” questions (brain storming)
•   Too Easy (Wikipedia is cool, but…)
•   Too Difficult (This is the most common mistake)
•   Too Broad (you need something specific and testable)
•   No Flexibility (Usually, people love their own ideas…)
•   Inadequate Literature Research (too bad)

The Research “Funnel”
Thinking, Philosophy, Theory
      Historical Studies
  Major Branching Points
     Current Research
       New Questions

            The Research Funnel
• Example – How about Brain Research?

Historic Studies:         Dr. Hans Berger (EEG)

Major Branching Points:   Medical, Psychology, Education,
                          Military, Human Factors…

Current research:         Perception, Attention,
                          Decision-making etc…

New Questions:            “Objects”? What are they?

           NDSU Library
   Go to the library website.
   Click on Electronic Journals and
    check them out.
   Find “Web of Science” and feel free
    to search whatever primary source
    and download it as a PDF.
   This website is changing all the time,
    so check it out periodically.

Refining your Search
• Combine subject words
  e.g. “bulimia” & “male”
• Restrict dates
  e.g. 1990 to 2005
• Restrict publication type
  e.g. “Journals” only

  Hint to class: Type “review” in the title line!

Journal Articles
  •   Title
  •   Abstract
  •   Introduction
  •   Method
  •   Results
  •   Discussion
  •   References
     Journal Articles
• Titles
  - Title, authors, affiliations

• Abstract
  - 200 word summary
  Journal Articles
• Introduction
 - The “Research Funnel”
 - General to Specific

• Method
 - How, Who, and What
 - Replication
      Journal Articles
• Results
  - Tables of results
  - Statistics
• Discussion
  - What do the results mean
  - What comes next
• References
  - Complete citations
      Finding a Research Idea
      • Tips:
          - look in discussion sections
          - modify existing studies
          - combine 2 existing findings

Hint: It is also o.k. trying to replicate a finding that has not been
replicated yet or is highly controversial. There is nothing wrong with
scrutinizing other people’s work.
Ideas and Hypotheses
   • Ideas
     - general
   • Brain storming!
   • Hypotheses
     - specific
     - testable

• Decide on a research idea
  - identify your sources
  - remember common mistakes
  - do a thorough literature search

• Formulate a hypothesis
   You will certainly need help with this. Run your idea
   by me or Dan before you start your paper
   Let us start EARLY with the final paper.
Literature Search
• Literature searches
  – Purpose
  – Process

• PsychINFO
  – Purpose
  – Process
Steps in the research process
1. Find a research idea
2. Convert the idea into a hypothesis
3. Define and measure variables
4. Identify participants
5. Select a research strategy
6. Conduct the study
7. Evaluate the data
8. Report the results
9. Refine/reformulate your research idea
  Purpose of a literature search

• Find out what other researchers have done
   – Gain a general familiarity with the past and current research in
     the area of interest

• Generate and refine research ideas
   – Identify a small set of research studies that will serve as a basis
     for your future research

• Write the introduction of a research paper
   – Justify your current research by identifying gaps in the field of
     Literature search: Primary vs
          secondary sources
• Primary source
   – Direct report of research by the researcher
   – Describes details of the study
   – Journal articles

• Secondary source
   – Reports/summaries of research
   – Could be written by someone other than the researcher
   – Review articles/texts and book chapters/popular media/web sites
 Communicating research findings
        in psychology
1. Internet
  –   Web pages (secondary)
  –   On-line publications (primary)

2. Presentations and conferences (primary)
3. Journal articles (primary)
  –   Peer reviewed

4. Book chapters (secondary)
 Process of conducting a literature

1. Start with a general idea
2. Use secondary sources to narrow the focus
3. Use an online database (e.g., PsycINFO) to
   locate primary source journal articles
4. Review abstracts for relevant articles
5. Obtain articles and use references and
   keywords for additional sources
 Conducting a literature search
Look for two types of information

  1. Background/overview information
     •   Think “broader”
     •   Books/texts, review articles and chapters

  2. Topic information
     •   Think “narrower”
     •   Journal articles
 Web search vs online databases
• Web search (e.g., Google)
  – Web sites of researchers

  – Lectures on topic

  – Secondary sources more than primary

  – Quality of information is more variable
   What are online databases?
• Comprehensive databases of journal
  articles, books, chapters, and dissertations
• Not limited to NDSU availability
• Related to the social, medical, and
  biological sciences
• E.g., PsycINFO, MEDLINE, PubMed,
• Covers psychology and related disciplines
  (e.g., psychiatry and sociology)

• Journals/periodicals plus books and book
  chapters and dissertations

• Contains citation information as well as
  abstracts (1-paragraph summaries of
          Online databases
• NDSU library website
• Access from NDSU home page
  – Click on “Libraries”
  – Click on “Databases: A-Z”
  – Go to “P” and find “PsycINFO”
          Searching PsycInfo
1. Enter terms for search
   Keyword            Author
   Title              Journal name

2. Narrow search or broaden search
      Use Thesaurus for related terms
      Specify dates of publication (e.g., after 1990) and language
      “Find all of the words” or “Exact phrase” to narrow search
      “Find any of the words” to broaden search

3. Select citations
      Choose “View Record” to see abstract
      Check (mark) records of interest on Results page

4. Save/Email/Print citations
      All citations or marked citations
      Select either citation alone or citation + abstract
    What search terms to use?
• Advice:
   – Start broad and narrow down

• Search results
   – 500+ hits are too many
   – 100 hits are manageable for browsing
      • Select from the hits based on the title
      • If title matches, look at abstract

• Number of articles selected from search?
   – Depends on purpose of search
   – 10-20?
                  Finding articles
• Electronic journals
   – NDSU website (E-Journals)

• Library
   – Journal stacks (year 2000 or later) – current periodicals by
     Reference area
   – Annex (before 2000) – requires pull service
   – Microfiche (library basement)!!

• Interlibrary loan
   – Access to journals/books from other libraries
   – Online request form for delivery service
   – Can take days to weeks for request
             Finding articles
• NDSU Catalog
  – Books and journals at NDSU and other
    regional libraries

  – Search by topic, title, or author

  – Also details availability/location
             PsycINFO exercise
1.   With a partner or solo, conduct a PsycINFO keyword
2.   Find articles that contain a combination of three key
3.   Select five articles that you believe would provide high
     quality background information on the topic
4.   Print the citations and abstracts for the 5 articles
5.   Include: (a) the three key terms used and (b) the
     names of the group members
6.   5 points EC – due Monday in class

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