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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

PSYC 201: Research Methods and Data Analysis FALL 2021

Class Assignment

What follows is a description of how to do the assignment you will upload to CourseSite.



There is a Word attachment below. Please use it to record the answers to this assignment.

Download it to your computer drive.

Put in your name, under "student's name".



Choose a psychology topic that interests you.

Some places to check for topic ideas:

  • If you want a topic that relates in some way to a career, but first want to learn about careers, go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Look for the tab labeled "What they do", then scroll down in it to see a list with descriptions of psychology career areas.
  • Another way to find a topic is to look around in the background information resources page of this guide. For example, look around in Current Directions in Psychological Science  for a topic. 
  • Search in PsycINFO for a topic. 
  • Search in one of the popular article sources in this library guide.  Go to the page titled Popular Articles.  If you are searching Academic Search Ultimate or Research Library, restrict your results to a popular article, such as a magazine or newspaper. 
  • You can search around in Google. Do a google search on "advanced google search" and this will bring you to the advanced google search interface. You might want to limit your results to ".edu" types of resources, which are mainly educational. (For example, !)

Once you select a topic idea, write one sentence about it under "My topic" in your downloaded Word document. You can refine or change the sentence or topic as you go along in this exercise.


Go to the background information 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", identify the resources you found.  Just provide enough information so that someone can find each item. Don't worry about citing these  resources in APA style.
  • Write one brief sentence for each resource explaining how it helps you understand your topic and why you think it is reliable or authoritative. For ideas about how to evaluate the resources, you can use the box labeled Evaluating information in the Background Information page.

Note: later in the course, don't forget about background information resources. They can help when you read an article and (inevitably) you encounter technical terminology that you need to understand if you are to understand the article.


Next, make sure you understand the difference between a popular article and a scholarly article. See the two sources at the page of this guide titled "Scholarly versus popular articles".


Now use the PsycINFO database to find three scholarly articles relating to your topic. (This exercise focuses on just this one databases, but see the "Articles" page of this guide for other databases that you might want to use later in the semester.)

(a) Design a search that draws on the PsycINFO search techniques mentioned in the tutorial.  

  • 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 you run your search, restrict by "Academic Journals" on the left.

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

Examples of filters: Age and Population Group,  and  "Methodology" types (again, all this is on the left of the search results.)   For definitions of what the methodology options are, go to the help documentation link, far upper right on the PsycINFO search page. It's on the blue bar. Click on Help. Scroll all the way down to "Database Help: APA PsycINFO. IMPORTANT: READ OVER THE LIST OF METHODOLOGY DEFINITIONS IN THE DOCUMENTATION JUST MENTIONED. FOR CONVENIENCE, THEY ARE PROVIDED IN THE BOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE DEFINITION THAT YOU MAY NEED IN YOUR PAPER IS "EMPIRICAL STUDY".


Returning now to your PsycINFO search, at this point, under Methodology, do not select one of the "review" categories (literature or systematic review).  

Find two articles that you find interesting!

Follow these instructions to copy and paste two references--in APA style--into the Word document, under the section in the Word document labeled Two Peer Reviewed Articles. Instructions:

When you are in the PsycINFO record for the item you want to cite, click on "cite", then look for the APA version of the citation. Check for the accuracy of the citation by going to the "Owl" style guide. (See the tutorial, which has a video covering this.) For the full Owl guide, go to the "citing sources" page of this guide.

In the Word document, put in some sentences about your search statement and what "filters" you found useful.

Also mention whether for each article, you were able to access the full text through Lehigh Links, or whether you would need to order it via ILLiad through Lehigh Links. 

(d) Now find one review article. To do this, go back to your search, and this time select one or both of thess 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.

Goal: from these search results, find just one article that is either a literature review, or a systematic review.

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

(e) Upload the Word document to CourseSite. 



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.


If you're 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



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 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: