Skip to Main Content

Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

PSYC 201: Research Methods and Data Analysis SPRING 2023

Class Assignment

Below are instructions about how to do the assignment you will upload to CourseSite.


This is a downloadable version of the assignment; please use it to record the answers to this assignment:


Choose a psychology topic that interests you. Some ideas about finding topic ideas:

  • Look around in the background information resources page of this guide. (The next part of the assignment actually involves identifying sources of background information.)
  • If you want a topic that relates to a career, but first want to learn about careers, go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Open the tab labeled "What they do", then scroll down to see a list with descriptions of psychology career areas.
  • Look around in Current Directions in Psychological Science for a topic. 
  • Search in PsycINFO for a topic. You can hunt around in the "APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms" for ideas. It appears at the top of the PsycINFO search interface.
  • Go to the page of this guide titled Popular Articles.

Once you select a topic idea, identify it in one sentence in "My topic" in your downloaded Word document. 


Background information resources either give you a broad conceptual map of your topic or help you understand technical terminology you encounter in your reading. 

In the background information part of this guide, find two resources that help you understand your topic before you start looking for scholarly journal articles below.

  • In the Word document, under "background information resources", record the two resources. Provide just enough information that someone can find each. 
  • Explain briefly how each helps you understand your topic and why you think each is reliable. For ideas about how to evaluate the resources for reliability, use the box labeled Evaluating Web Resources in the Background Information page of this guide.


Before moving on to PsycINFO to find scholarly articles, make sure you understand how popular and scholarly articles differ. Read over the page of this guide titled "Scholarly versus popular articles".


Use PsycINFO to find three scholarly articles relating to your topic.


(a) Do a search that draws on PsycINFO search techniques:

  • Logical operators (AND, OR). Example: cognitive and psychology; memory or mnemonic
  • Phrase searching. Use quotation marks to search for a phrase. Example: “cognitive psychology”.
  • Truncation. Example: psychol* 
  • Finding citing articles, i.e., articles published later in time, that cite the article of interest.

(b) After running your search, look for "Source Types" on the left and select "Academic Journals".

(c) Then, explore other "filter" options on the left of your search results. These give additional ways to narrow your search results.

Examples of filters: Age and Population Group,  and  "Methodology" types.

Read over the list of methodology definitions in the box at the bottom of this page. For example, one methodology type is "empirical study". At this point do not select the following methodologies: literature or systematic review.   

Using the search techniques, find two articles that interest you.

You may find them in your search results.

OR, starting with one article that you like, look at the articles *it* cites, or published later in time that cite *it*.  Articles cite each other because they are related somehow in topic. So finding one good article can be a stepping stone to finding the second article for this assignment.

Next, create references to the articles using APA style. When you are in the PsycINFO record for the item you want to reference, click on "cite" on the right, then look for the APA version of the citation:


Copy and paste this APA version of the citation into the Word document under the section labeled "Two Academic Journal Articles"

Check the references for accuracy by going to the "Owl" style guide. Look there for examples of how to cite an article.

In the Word document, put in the search statement and search "filter(s)" you used to find the articles.

Also, for each article, mention if you could access the full text either from a link in the database or through Lehigh Links, or whether you would need to order it via ILLiad through Lehigh Links.

(d) Now use PsycINFO to find one "review" article.

Quick note: don't confuse "peer review" with the concept of a "review article". Totally different concepts!  Peer review is a process for evaluating scholarly articles that researchers have submitted to a journal. A review article is a type of scholarly article that reviews the literature about a topic.

To find the review article, go back to your search, and this time select one of these two options from the methodology filter:

Literature Review: Survey of previously published literature on a particular topic to define and clarify a particular problem; summarize previous investigations; and to identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature, and suggest the next step in solving the problem.

Systematic Review: A form of literature review that comprehensively identifies, appraises, and synthesizes all relevant literature to address a specific question.

From these search results, select just one article that is either a literature review, or a systematic review. 

As in the previous step, put the reference, in APA format, into the Word document under "One review article".

(e) Upload the Word document to CourseSite. 


(A) Set up an "ILLiad" account 

Spend two minutes setting up an ILLiad account. ILLiad enables you to order articles that Lehigh does not have electronically. Lehigh will order the item for you, or scan it if the print is available. In either case, you will receive an email with a link to the article. You may need to use ILLiad later in the semester for for other assignments or classes. Go here. Click on ILLiad. Fill out required one-time registration information.

(B) Set up VPN  

If you are off campus, VPN  can help you access articles on the web that you cannot directly access otherwise. NOTE: Even with VPN on, you may be prompted for the Lehigh login and password that you use in accessing Lehigh email.   

To set up VPN, go here:

Remote Connectivity - the Lehigh VPN

(C) Learn more about PsycINFO

Learn more about PsycINFO by reading the documentation in the database help. For example, you might find the classification codes helpful.

(D) Review other databases 

Try out other databases that enable you to find literature.

Methodology types in PsycINFO

When you do a search in PsyciNFO, consider limiting by methodology. After doing a search, look for "methodology" to the left of the search results and refine ("filter") the search by selecting one of the following options.

Below is taken from PsycINFO database help documentation.



Captures the research method used in a study, such as Clinical Case Study, Empirical Study, Experimental Replication, Follow up Study, Longitudinal Study, Prospective Study, retrospective Study, Field Study, Literature Review, Systematic Review, Mathematical Model, Meta Analysis, Non-clinical Case Study, Qualitative Study, Quantitative Study, Treatment Outcome/ Clinical Trial.

Empirical Study: Study based on facts, systematic observation, or experiment, rather than theory or general philosophical principle.

Clinical Case Study: Case reports that include disorder, diagnosis, and clinical treatment for mental or medical illnesses of individuals.

Non-clinical Case Study: Document consisting of non-clinical or organizational case examples of the concepts being researched or studied. The setting is always non-clinical and does not include treatment-related environments.

Treatment Outcome/Clinical Trial: Empirical evaluations undertaken to assess the results or consequences of treatment and procedures used in combating disease in order to determine the efficacy, effectiveness, safety, and practicability of these interventions. In clinical trials, at least one test treatment and one control treatment is used to study the safety and/or efficacy of new diagnostic, therapeutic, or pharmacology protocols. Participants are assigned by chance to separate groups that compare different treatments; neither the researchers nor the participants can choose which group. Used only for human populations.

Experimental Replication: Replication of the methods or results of a previous study, as indicated by the author. Studies that include extensions to original research are not considered replications.

Follow-up Study: Empirical study which re-examines studies of individuals or groups, comparing the present findings with the original observations or measurements in a previously conducted study.

Longitudinal Study: A study that follows the same individuals or groups of subjects over an extended period of time.

Prospective Study: Longitudinal study that looks at present data and includes ongoing data gathering in its methodology To generate prognostic or evidence rates.

Retrospective Study: Longitudinal research that examines past experiences or events to study causative factors related to disease or behavior.

Literature Review: Survey of previously published literature on a particular topic to define and clarify a particular problem; summarize previous investigations; and to identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature, and suggest the next step in solving the problem.

Systematic Review: A form of literature review that comprehensively identifies, appraises, and synthesizes all relevant literature to address a specific question.

Meta Analysis: Statistical analysis of previously published empirical data.

Mathematical Model: A mathematical structure, formula, or equation that can be used to describe and study a real situation. This type of methodology is commonly found in, but not limited to, studies of epidemiology, neural networks, artificial intelligence, robotics, human factors, utility theory, and statistics.

Field Study: Research undertaken outside the laboratory or place of learning ("in the field"), usually in a natural environment, including free-living wild animals in their natural habitat or research on humans using naturalistic observation techniques.

Qualitative Study: A type of research methodology that produces descriptive data, with little emphasis given to numerical quantitative measures. Examples include unstructured interviews, participant observations, and focus groups.

Quantitative Study: Study that provides numerical representation of observations for the purpose of describing and explaining the phenomenon studied followed by the application of various descriptive and inferential statistical methods.

Scientific Simulation: Examine issues in a controlled scientific simulation environment.

Brain Imaging: The use of imaging tools such as magnetic Resonance Imaging, Computed Tomography, Positron Emission Tomography or Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to study brain anatomy and its involvement in newurological and cognitive functions

Interview: Agoal-directed conversation with the obtaining information from an individual

Focus Group: Qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their opinions, perceptions, or experiences on issues, products, or services

Twin Studies: Compare the etiology of genetic and environmental traits of identical and fraternal twins

For a complete list of APA Methodologies and their respective definitions please refer to the following website: