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A research guide for students interested in Psychology with links to important resources and databases.

Description of Project

Welcome to
Research Resources for PSYC 4220W:  History & Systems

Your major paper assignment requires that you choose a topic and research it in order to provide the following information in your paper:

  • an explanation of the topic and its importance to the field of psychology;
  • an historical context for the events, circumstances and conditions predating your topic;
  • a description of the topic, how it came about, the findings of the research, and how it was received at the time;
  • the legacy or lasting influences as a result of your subject on psychology of today.


Grammarly is a tool used to correct grammar errors and enhance your writing. Grammarly includes Advanced Grammar Rules, Contextual Spell Checker, Vocabulary Enhancement, Plagiarism Checker, and Corrects Writing Mistakes. 

  • New users must set up an account with an active St. Kate's email address.
  • To access the Grammarly signup page and for more information on using it, go to ServiceNow (St. Kate's login required).
  • Grammarly is provided by IT. Contact them for more assistance: or 651-690-6402.
  • Librarians do not provide support for this program.

General Research Sources

In total, you must have at least 10 sources; 3 of the sources must be primary and 3 must be peer-reviewed and empirical. (Note: a single article may be primary, peer-reviewed, and empirical.) PsycINFO allows you to limit to peer-reviewed and to empirical.

Besides PsycINFO, other sources may include:

  • Books/Ebooks (use CLICsearch)
  • Reference books -- available both in print or online
  • Websites from reputable organizations or authors
  • Archival collections
  • New York Times -- good for obituaries and biographical info
  • Wikipedia -- may provide background info, or used to verify works by or about a topic (we generally do not suggest that students cite Wikipedia on their papers, but it may give places to start!)

What is a primary source?

Primary sources are original ones that were written or created at the time being studied.  For your assignment, examples of primary sources may include something written by the person being studied, an audio recording of that person, or the first report of research finding or a new theory.

How do I know what sources are peer-reviewed?

Generally, "peer-reviewed" refers to articles written in journals that undergo a rigorous select process. Articles are reviewed by experts in the same field who may question the methodology or findings and suggest revisions to ensure the quality of the research.

What does it mean that an article is "empirical"?

Empirical refers to research in which knowledge is gained by actual experience rather than by theory or opinion. Empirical articles will generally report on original research, which can be quanitative or qualitative. Look for sections labeled "Methodology" and "Findings" or "Results." In PsycINFO, scroll down to Methodology and check the box for Empirical.

Stay organized!

Keep notes of where you searched, how you searched, and what you found there. Chances are you will forget and end of duplicating your steps.

Reference Sources

Reference books are great for learning about the person or topic, getting some history and names of prominent figures, and sometimes finding other sources to consult.

The following title can be found in the Reference Room of the Library. Look around the same area in the library for other titles. They cannot be checked out, but you can photocopy or make notes from them (remember to record all the info you need to properly cite the sources!).

Encyclopedia of Psychology, 8 volumes. REF. BF 31 .E52 (2000).

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology, 4 volumes. REF. BF 31 .E52 (2010).

Search St. Kate's

Search for books, journals, articles, media & more

LibSearch Guide: For more help, including how to request items in LibSearch that are not at St. Kate's.

Online Sources

APA Division 26: History of Psychology  can be useful for verifying background info (such as birth and death dates) and bibliographies (or list of related works or work by a person). It is generally not suggested that students cite Wikipedia on academic papers, but it can be helpful in getting started.

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