HELPFUL HINTS FOR FINDING ARTICLES
AND WRITING AN INTRODUCTION SECTION
IN AN APA-FORMAT PAPER
1. TIPS ON HOW TO FIND EMPIRICAL PSYCHOLOGY JOURNAL ARTICLES USING PSYCINFO:
To write the Introduction section of a paper, you will need to find several journal articles. To find a professional psychology journal article, you need to look in the PsycInfo database. You can always ask the librarian for help with this, but here is a step-by-step way to access the database from the NSU webpage:
1. Go to http://sherman.library.nova.edu/
2. Click on “Databases by name” and select “PsycInfo.”
3. Log in using your NSU login and password.
4. Now you can search any topic in psychology by entering it into the PsycInfo database and clicking on “search”! Use the options on the right side to narrow your search, such as by limiting sources to those that have certain words in the title (TI) of the article, or those written by certain authors (AU). You can also check the boxes to limit your search to “peer reviewed” “scholarly journals” with a particular range of publication dates.
5. *** IMPORTANT: After you have searched for a topic, you may wish to click on the tab which limits it to “peer-reviewed journal articles.” You should try to cite mostly or all empirical journal articles, which are articles in which the authors did an experiment or study or some kind. You should avoid using too many book chapters. Book chapters are essentially reviews of the literature in a certain field, which is what you would be doing when writing your introduction section (so it doesn’t make sense to do a review of someone else’s review).
6. After you have found articles through PsycInfo, you may be able to download the article directly as a PDF file. But if the article is unavailable online, write down or print the relevant information (article title, authors, journal name). Then you just go to the library to find the actual article itself. Journals are on the second floor of the main campus library; you can ask a librarian for help if you can’t find them. The journals there are in alphabetical order. For example, if your article appears on pages 126-135 of “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin” (1995), you would go to the journals, find “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, pull out the collection of journals from the year 1995, and turn to page 126. Then you Xerox the entire article to take home with you, and read it in detail in order to talk about it in your paper.
2. TIPS ON CITATIONS IN THE INTRODUCTION SECTION OF AN APA-FORMAT PAPER:
Ideally, your Introduction section should flow as a cohesive “story” about a certain area of research. That is, you are summarizing the state of research on a given topic; naturally, in order to do that, you need to explain what studies have been done on this topic. If you can integrate your article explanations together to provide a cohesive picture of the research in this area, that’s great. Even if your articles contradict each other, you can discuss the dilemma of which viewpoint is the correct one.
Below I am including a list of tips for citing articles in APA (American Psychological Association) format:
APA Citation Format
Every statement of fact in the text of one of your papers must be cited. How do you know it? From a journal article? From a book chapter? A webpage? If you didn’t do the research yourself, you must cite it in the text. Then that reference must appear again at the end of your paper in your References section. [Note specific to PSYC 1020 students: for your first PSYC 1020 paper, you are not required to have a references section. In addition, most of your references should be from empirical journal articles, and none of them should be from the web or a TV show.] Statements of fact that are not referenced will cost you points on your grade.
In your paper, citations should be in the form “(author, year).” There are some examples below.
If the two or more author names are inside parentheses (), you use an “&”. If you use the author names outside of parentheses, you use the word “and.” For example:
Researchers have found that parents can read the facial expressions of their own children more accurately than those of other children (Zuckerman & Prewuzman, 1979).
Zuckerman and Prewuzman (1979) found that parents can read the facial expressions of their own children more accurately than those of other children.
Page numbers are NOT given unless there is a direct quote. A direct quote is the kind you need quotation marks for — when you are using the author’s exact words, not paraphrasing him or her. It’s not a difficult distinction — if you use “quotes” you need a page number; otherwise you don’t need to list the page number. Just remember you must always include BOTH the author and the year. Examples appear below.
Here are some examples if you are paraphrasing — saying what the author said, but in your own words (which you should try to do most of the time):
One out of six women are sexually assaulted (Jones & Smith, 1998).
According to Jones and Smith (1998), one out of six women are sexually assaulted.
Below are some examples if you are quoting the author directly: (You should try to keep this to a minimum.)
According to a recent study, “one out of six women are sexually assaulted” (Jones & Smith, 1998, p. 32).
According to Jones and Smith (1998, p. 32), “one out of six women are sexually assaulted.”
In 1998, Jones and Smith (p. 32) said, “One out of six women are sexually assaulted.”
Finally, I highly recommend going to Academic Services (see the handout I gave you in class)! First of all, they have guidelines for writing in APA format, which you may find helpful. Second of all, they have FREE tutors to help you. You can request a tutor who knows APA format writing.