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Psychology 204 - Adolescent Psychology Research Guide

Find Background Information on Your Topic

Recommended Databases

Recommended Reference Books and Subject Introductions

Adolescent Psychology Research Journals

Scholarly/Peer-Reviewed Article Databases

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Google Scholar is a discovery tool that helps you find scholarly literature related to your topic.


  • Easy to search
  • Shows you the impact of an article (how many times it has been cited by other published articles). 


  • Not full text (with some exceptions). Unless the article/book is free to the public, you will be asked to pay to view the full text. NEVER PAY FOR AN ARTICLE/BOOK! Ask a librarian for help in locating a full-text copy for you.
  • Has a limited search scope. You can miss out on other available articles on a topic if you only use Google Scholar.

How to Identify Research Studies

Scholarly Psychology Journals usually have two types of articles:

  • Reviews look at other peoples' research and summarize research in a specific area of study.
  • Research studies report the original research being conducted by the authors of the article.

‚ÄčQuick Indicators of Original Research Studies

Read the abstract of an article before diving into it completely and then give the article a quick once over. You are looking for keywords such as:

  • Purpose or Objective: Why the experiment is being done in the first place, the question that the researchers are attempting to address with their research.
  • Participants, Population, or subjects: In psychology, research is done on people or animals – a research article should discuss who participated in a study. If it DOES NOT talk about the people used in the research, it may be an analysis or review of research. It is likely NOT a research study.
  • Methods or Methodology: This explains how the research is done.
  • Results or Findings: An explanation of what the researchers found within the scope of their experiment or research.
  • Conclusions and/or Discussion: A description of what the researchers’ findings entail or mean, and suggestions for future research informed by such findings.

Adapted from “What is Original Research?”

Scholary Sources VS Popular Sources

Scholarly Sources

Picture of the cover of the American Journal of Psychology, which is blue with some yellow lines.

Popular Sources

Picture of the cover of Psychology Today which is a sheep in glasses.

  • Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
  • Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
  • Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
  • Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied. (Peer-Reviewed)
  • Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public.
  • Audience: Written for the general public.
  • Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
  • Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.

REMEMBER: Popular DOES NOT equal bad. Check with your professors to find out which popular sources they accept.

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