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PSY480: Senior Project: Project

Course Assignment

Welcome to the NU Library course guide for PSY 480 - Senior Project. Here you will find library tutorials, links to library resources for finding definitions, and resources for getting help from a librarian. 

While this guide will provide you with support to complete the research aspects of your assignment, please address all questions regarding content, formatting, and grading to your instructor.

>> For more detailed information about library resources, see our full Psychology Guide. <<

Your Librarian

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Tammy Ivins
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Staffed Hours

Library Staffed Hours

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Please see the library calendar for holiday closings/adjusted hours.

Interlibrary Loan

NU Interlibrary Loan Service

Electronically request and receive articles, book chapters, or other resources when unavailable in full-text from the NU Library.

Literature Review FAQs

Remember that your literature review should be organized thematically rather than in alphabetical or chronological order. 

How to Find Resources in NavigatorSearch

How to Find Resources in NavigatorSearch: Search Like an Expert

Discover how to use limiters, connectors, wildcards, and more to make your research faster and easier!

Types of Sources

There are many types of sources that are reliable but not appropriate for a formal literature review. These include book reviews, newspaper or magazine articles, or opinion pieces.

Scholarly Sources

Instead, we want to use scholarly sources for your literature review.  They are written by experts in a particular field or discipline and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within their discipline.

These articles might present original research data and findings, or they may take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read because their intended audience is other experts and academics, but they present the most recent scholarly research on topics. 

Empirical Research Sources 

Note that many scholarly articles are empirical research, meaning they are based on facts, systematic observation, or experiments rather than theory or general philosophical principles.   These articles will likely make up the majority of your literature review. 

On the other hand, some scholarly articles may not be based on empirical research. One common example of a non-empirical scholarly article is a literature review (and variations such as a meta-analysis or systematic review). Such non-empirical articles are usually easily spotted by descriptions like "A review of the literature" in their titles. 

Peer-Reviewed Sources

Scholarly articles are oftentimes peer-reviewed or refereed. A peer-reviewed or refereed article has gone through a process where other scholars in the author’s field or discipline critically assess a draft of the article. The evaluations are similar to editing notes, where the author receives detailed and constructive feedback from the peer experts.  How can you tell if an article was published in a peer-reviewed journal? It may be labeled in the library database where you found the article. You can also use a tool called UrlichsWeb to double-check. 

Please remember that not all scholarly journals go through the peer-review process. However, it is safe to assume that a peer-reviewed journal is also scholarly. In short, “scholarly” means the article was written by an expert for an audience of other experts, researchers, or students. “Peer-reviewed” takes it one step further and means the article was reviewed and critiqued by the author’s peers, who are experts in the same subject area. The vast majority of scholarly articles are peer-reviewed.

Trade Publications

Trade publications, such as Psychology Today, are neither academic nor popular; they are resources written for those working in the field and for popular audiences. These publications tend to publish news, statistics, trends, and other information relevant to their industry. Authors can be staff editors, journalists, practitioners or academics in the field. Articles may be short and may not include references(or not nearly as many references as scholarly journal articles).  These sources are not appropriate for a literature review. 

Reference Sources

Finally, there are reference sources. These include handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauri.  These sources are most authoritative sources for locating general or background information, however they do not contain the most recent scholarly research and are often not appropriate for inclusion in a literature review. 

Suggested Research Databases