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

Summary of Library Research

The importance of library research cannot be overestimated. Without library resources, each investigator would effectively be "reinventing the wheel" with every research study. Fortunately, the modern university library not only has the relevant past research on virtually any topic, but also has the complex indexing necessary to find the material you need. 

This tutorial summarized briefly the library resources available to the student researcher and described some of the strategies one might use to find appropriate background material for a study. Our discussion was brief, however, and only touched the surface of this topic. We encourage you to use the services of the reference librarian to learn more about the specific resources available at your institution. A book by Reed and Baxter (2003) outlines in more detail the resources and strategies covered in this appendix.

Listed below is a list summarizing the strategies for library research.

  1. Have a clear statement of the literature search problem.
  2. From the problem statement, identify the key terms for your topic. Use the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms to help determine your key terms.
  3. Consult with your reference librarian and determine which databases are most likely to include the information you seek.
  4. Search the databases using your key terms. PsycINFO is probably the most useful for you. Look for secondary as well as primary sources. Read the titles and abstracts of the papers and chapters; narrow your list by deleting those that seem least relevant.
  5. Print out the list of remaining references; find the original articles, books, and chapters; read them.
  6. As you gain information from your reading, you will refine your ideas, gain new ideas, and will further refine your problem statement.
  7. Consult other citation indexes (ERIC, Social Science Citation Index, Readers' Guide, etc.).
  8. At any point in this search process, you can consult your reference librarian!

Next Section

Return to the Library Research Main Menu