PSYCH211 Reviewing the Literature


Hamilton Students

  • Level 4 Information Desk in the Library
  • Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for help: Jillene Bydder  

Available in K2.11 at drop-in hours  or by appointment or contact by email.

Tauranga students

Reviewing the Literature (Literature Reviews)

See  Write a Literature Review: for Undergraduates

Price, P. C., Jhangiani, R. S., Chiang, I-C. A, Veale, J. F., & Williams, M. N. (2020). Research methods in psychology (New Zealand ed.).
Available for download through Moodle

Sage Research Methods database

Search for specific topics and download pdfs

sample search: single subject design

NB Most videos are not available. We subscribe to the Practical Research and Academic Skills set only.

All databases work differently!  

We're going to look at Library Search first for books and articles. Then we'll look at PsycINFO, your subject database for finding articles, and also Index New Zealand to find articles published in journals  published in New Zealand.

This is where I'll try to explain some really confusing things.

Our Library Search gives us access to the journal articles in the journals which are included in all our databases

What else does it include?

It's one-size-fits-all, "discovery layer" software

Finding Books published

Use Library Search to find print and online books

on your topic

You might want to look for books on how self esteem might affect students at university, so you think of your your key words and do a search something like this

sample search: "self esteem" achievement

Choose Books/Ebooks

A Library Search trap!  "Check availability" is a very bad sign, Why?  Interloans? World Cat?

Choose filter/s!!!!  From Subject, choose Academic achievement/from Availability, choose Online resources

Scroll down till we see

Motivation and self-regulated learning theory, research, and applications. Click on the link. Try the Ebook Central link, then the Taylor and Francis EBA link. What's the difference?

or to see if we have a copy of a book you've found out about (or a chapter of a book, in which case you also look for the book title)

sample search: Great myths of education and learning.  What happens?

Guide to Library Search

Finding Articles

Use Library Search to find articles on your topic

sample search "self esteem" achievement

use filters to limit your search

e.g. "academic achievement" and "college students"

or to see if we have a copy of an article you've found out about

Self-esteem, study habits and academic performance among university students

Library Search Quick Guide

Guide to Library Search

Finding journal articles using subject-specific databases -- Why?

Why do we want you to use our databases?

  • The best information is not free! (We pay for all the databases we provide access to. Use them!)
  • Subject databases allow more focused searches than Library Search does
  • Information quality

    We spend ? on database subscriptions - why?

    Be careful out there! We hope that our databases avoid predatory publishers - the bad guys of the publishing world - so you are getting good academic information

    We want peer reviewed articles from the best journals

    Peer review?


YOUR database!


Why use it? Focus search! Psych Journals only! Peer reviewed journals!

The key to success with PsycINFO is using the APA Thesaurus, which is a list of the subject terms/headings/Index Terms assigned to articles by the APA indexers to make searching easier and more focused.

Go to the blue toolbar and click on APA Thesaurus. If we are looking for, for instance, articles on self-esteem and academic achievement, type one subject at a time e.g. self-esteem in to the search box and click search. There are two boxes beside the term on the results page. The blue box with the white cross gives definitions of the term and suggests other index terms which may be useful. The blank box is for you to mark if you want to add the term to your search automatically, but let’s just write all our index terms down at the moment, as we don’t know yet how we want to structure our search. Now let’s try a search on academic to see if there’s an index term for academic achievement. Yes, there is, so we look at all the alternative Terms and make sure we've noted the ones we want to use.

Now let’s set out our search (using the Advanced Search screen).Type self-esteem in the first search box, and choose Index Term from the Any Field drop-down menu. Type academic achievement in the second search box and choose Index Term from the drop-down menu. This keeps the logic of our search right – we want both terms to be there as AND searches so that we get a nice focused result.  Click Search.

You can do OR searches but this is a bit trickier. With AND selected, type xxxxx OR (caps) xxxxx OR xxxxx etc. Leave the Any Field box as Any Field unless they are ALL Index Terms. Click Search.

On the left-hand side of the results screen there’s a navigation bar giving us all sorts of choices. We might want to choose Peer Reviewed Journal immediately. Under Index Terms, we see the other subject headings/index terms that have been assigned to the articles in our results set. We might want to choose College Students. We might want to narrow our search by Age Group, male/female (Population Group), Methodology, Tests used, etc. We might want to choose the Qualitative set of results, or Quantitative, or Interviewing.

Click on the title of an article that interests you. Note if it has been cited, but it may be too recent. Look at the abstract, and note Full Text from Publisher on the right which means that you can see the full text of that article by clicking the Full text link.  Scroll down till you see References. This list is the references from the articles, and the ones with the doi link will be full text as well.

If they are not linked, they are probably references to books, and if you want to see if we have these just copy and paste the title into Library Search.

Have fun, and if you have any problems, email me.


Go to Index  New Zealand. Scroll down to find Index New Zealand and click on the link.

Search using key words and then Refine results by Research Articles.

When you see a good article, Go to Request item. Note the instructions - you need to see if our Library has the journal the article is in.

NOTE: This is an INDEX, not a full-text database. It tells us about articles but we then have to check Library Search to see if we have access to it. Copy the title of the article you want to see, into Library Search and paste it into the search box. Can you see it?

Library Search isn't good at New Zealand material. If you don't find the article immediately, we may have a subscription to the journal the article is in, and it may be online.

Try searching by the title of the journal in Library Search. Then click on the link to the journal and find the right volume, issue and pages for the article. Or do an EJournal title search.

If the article is from a newspaper, trying pasting the title of the article into the database Newtext Plus.

Google Scholar

Use Google Scholar from the Library Databases page so that [email protected] will work for you.

Looking for a known article on Google Scholar gives you extra information.

Self-esteem, study habits and academic performance among university students

Cited by – Why is this important?

E-book Collections available  through the Library Databases list

Government Publications

Go to Government A-Z.

Find the Government Department you think will help. Click on the link, and at the next page, choose website from the list under Contact. Then you can use the search box to search for your topic. (remember that government departments are often called Ministry of ....)

e.g. Ministry for Pacific Peoples  for a summary of information about the age groups of Pacific Peoples in New Zealand

and then type age groups into the search box on the right and then

APA Referencing

See the APA Referencing Style Guide Look at the APA Style: Common Examples pages and follow the examples exactly

NOTE!!!!!!!  Instead of the instructions for tables and figures  on these pages (why?) follow these guides to the APA 7th instructions for setting out tables and figures