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PSYC 101: Introductory Psychology: Home

Social Sciences Liaison Librarian

Andrea Klyn's picture
Andrea Klyn
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Office: LIB 141
253.879.2875

Psychology 101 - Course Description

Humans are complex organisms, and psychology provides a rich, interdisciplinary understanding of the study of mental life, experience, and behavior. Through this course, students develop an appreciation for these complexities by focusing on individual and social behavior, as well as the physiological and neurological processes underlying them. Central to this course is an understanding of the diverse methods, experimental designs, foundational theories, and research used to inform the various subdisciplines in psychology. Topics frequently covered in this survey course include: research methods, sensation and perception, learning and memory, developmental, personality, abnormal, and social psychology.

Psychology Research

Empirical Research
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology to be 'empirical' research is "1. derived from or denoting experimentation or systematic observations as the basis for conclusion or determination, as opposed to speculative, theoretical, or exclusively reason-based approaches. 2. based on experience."

Peer Review
Refers to the process that a scholarly book or journal article goes through when an authors research and writing is evaluated by experts in their discipline or field.  In the case of a journal article, peers review articles to determine if they'll be accepted and published in a specific journal.  In the case of psychology journals expert peers are evaluating and checking the accuracy and originality of the research being reported on.

Peer Reviewed Empirical Articles from APA

Primary and Secondary Sources in Psychology

Primary Sources:  Are original materials based on first-hand accounts of research conducted by the author(s).  They are usually written at the time the research is occurring or shortly after the research is complete, and they present new information or discoveries.

Secondary Sources:  Describe, analyze or interpret information from a primary source or event.  They are removed from the original research, and are often written after-the-fact generally by someone other than the original researcher.  Secondary sources often are finding tools, like literature reviews, that point to the primary sources.

Why is this important?  In order for research to have credibility it needs to be founded on empirical evidence.  Interpretations are important, but in order to trust research peers need to see the original evidence or specific data that a study is based on.

Primary Sources in Psychology

Are original materials based on first-hand accounts of research conducted by the author(s). They are usually written at the time the research is occurring or shortly after the research is complete, and they present new information or discoveries.

Primary sources in psychology:

  • are written accounts of original research, study, or experimentation conducted by the author(s) of the resource.
  • are written accounts of primary research and are typically published in scholarly, peer-reviewed, journals, and are often published by professional associations or academic institutions.
  • are often research articles and generally contain standard components, and follow a specific format or pattern.
    • typically they include an abstract, a methods section, discussion, a conclusion and references.
  • can be found by looking for clues.
    • read the abstract of an article and look for statements like:
      • The research we conducted shows . . .
      • The aim of our study was . . .
      • We looked at two groups of children . . .
      • Our research concluded that . . .

Research 101

Research 101 is an interactive online tutorial for students who want an introduction to research skills. The tutorial covers how to select a topic and develop research questions, as well as how to select, search for, find, and evaluate information sources.