Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Library Research Exercises

Listed below are a number of exercises designed to sharpen your skills in library research. The exercises start with tracking down specific information in situations in which quite a bit is known, progress to tracking down specific information in situations in which  little is known, and then finish with tracking down general background information on a specific topic. By the time you get to the end of these exercises, you should have sufficient skills to research and plan a study of your own.

  1. You are working on a paper for class and you remember reading a relevant article on imagery and its impact on classical conditioning for another class. You do not remember the title, the authors, or the journal, but you do remember that it was a review article and that it was relatively recent (2006 or later).
  2. You want to do a paper on learned taste aversion. You know that this phenomenon is known by another name, but you cannot remember the name.
  3. You read about some interesting work on brain mechanisms behind psychological disorders, such as depression. The author whose name kept coming up in this discussion was Richard Davidson. Find some other articles written by this psychologist on related topics.
  4. In your developmental course, you read about the early work of Jean Piaget. You want to know how his ideas are influencing modern research on cognitive development. Identify a set of recent studies of cognitive development that have been shaped by Piaget's ideas.
  5. There is a considerable controversy about the heritability of IQ. It came up in your personality class, and this is the third time is was covered in classes you have taken. But different textbooks have made different claims, and your instructors do not always agree with the textbook authors. You decide to find out for yourself, so you search for recent work on this issue.
  6. In a course on physiological psychology, the text discusses the corpus callosum and its role in brain functioning. It mentions in passing that this brain structure has been implicated in some forms of psychopathology. You decide that this would make a good topic for a paper in your abnormal psychology class, so you search for papers on this topic.
  7. You want to do a paper on connectionist models of learning and memory, but you know little about the topic. Do a general search to find good background reading to help you understand the topic well enough to zero in on a good idea for a course paper.
  8. Your instructor demonstrated an illusion in class. You think it was called "line movement," although you are not sure. It involved looking at a square block while a thick black line appeared to the right of the block. Even though the line appeared all at once, most of the people in the class, including you, saw the line appear as if it started at the block and moved away from the block. You found this demonstration interesting and were disappointed that your instructor did not tell you more about it. You decide to find out more by searching in the library.
  9. In your social psychology class, you read about the work are Darley and Latane on bystander apathy. This work was inspired by the tragic death of Kitty Genovese several decades ago while dozens of people watched and no one helped or called the police. But most of the research talked about in class and in the text was done 20 years ago or more. You want to know if anyone is still doing work in this area and what questions they are addressing.
  10. You are considering doing a paper, perhaps even a study, on factors that may predispose someone to develop a panic disorder. Find the available information on this topic.
  11. You are interested in doing a paper on language acquisition. You know very little about the topic. Do a general search of the area to find information to help you narrow the topic to a more manageable size.
  12. You have become fascinated with the topic of reconstructive memory and you want to know what is known about the neurological mechanisms behind this phenomenon.
  13. You are required to design a study for your research methods class. It can be on any topic in psychology. You do not have to run the study, so you can plan things that would be prohibitively expensive to do by yourself. However, the study should make good theoretical sense and answer a question that has yet to be answered by researchers. Choose a topic, identify appropriate background reading, narrow the topic to a manageable size, and then identify the "must read" literature on this topic.

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