It’s that time of semester when you may hear from SFU students in Psyc 100 / Psyc 102 looking for research help on their assignments.
Please note that there is a guide for Psyc 100 / Psyc 102. Some students may still need help navigating the databases, as they are mostly first year students new to research and academic databases. I’ve also attached copies of the assignments for your reference.
In Psyc 100, students are required to find two empirical articles in PsycINFO – one non-experimental, and one a true experiment. In the instructor’s words:
“One of these articles must be based on a true experiment while the other article must be based on a non-experimental study that examines the same general research hypothesis.”
In Psyc 102, researchers are asked to find two articles on the same topic, but as analyzed through two different theoretical perspectives. These perspectives might include Biological, Psychodynamic, Humanist, Cognitive, Behavioural and Sociocultural. Notably, there are also narrower theoretical perspectives within these broad ones; if using one sub-topic, the student should note the broader theoretical view it belongs to. In the instructor’s words:
“Find two articles that you understand well enough that you can determine that they are reporting research on a ‘similar issue’,(same construct), but differ in their underlying theoretical perspectives”
Both Psyc 100 and Psyc 102 students are also limited by date range and alphabet range of the author’s last name.
There is no way to specifically narrow to either a particular perspective or to a true experiment in PsycINFO using the limiters, but adding keywords likely to be associated with a particular perspective (for instance, repress*, dopamine, actualization, etc.) or type of experiment might help narrow large result sets. Suggestions of key words are found in the 100/102 guide.
Notably, the percentage of true experimental versus non-experimental designs will vary by Psychology sub-discipline, but in general, there are fewer true experiments conducted.
Sometimes it just comes down to a matter of understanding the course material in order to interpret the articles; in other words, the student may already have a search results list with both required types, but not know how to distinguish. In these cases, we can’t distinguish for them, but could point them to a psyc handbook, for instance, to help them understand the concept of a true experiment better. Or, they may need to speak with their TAs. Other times, it will indeed be a matter where we can help improve the search and teach them how to use the interface.
Thank you for your help with this assignment.