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Browse library resources for the study of Psychology (go/psycguide/)

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Primary Sources in Psychology

What is a Primary Source?

In Psychology, a primary source (sometimes called a "primary empirical article" or an "empirical article") is a research article that is written by the person who performed the original scientific investigation. This is in contrast to review articles or articles published in newspapers or magazines that describe research that was performed by someone else. 

How to Recognize a Primary Source?

To determine whether an article is a primary source, first, remember that the article must be written by the people who did the original scientific investigation. Look for language that indicates the authors performed the actions they are describing, for example, "We surveyed a sample of university students..." or "We observed thirty healthy adults..." Then, look at the structure of the article. Primary sources are usually divided into sections such as: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion or Conclusions. Don't be thrown off when you see references to investigations done by other researchers; most primary sources begin with a review of relevant work.

How to Read a Scientific Paper? (Including Primary Sources)

Major Psychology Databases

General Science Databases

Recommended Journals

Browse these journals to get a sense of topics of current interest. 

Are you doing research for a paper? If so then you probably don't want to limit yourself to just one journal! Instead, search for your keywords in one of the indexes and databases above.

Can't Find It at Middlebury?

If you want a book, article, or video not available through Middlebury Libraries resources, you can still get it! Consider requesting an item for purchase or through interlibrary loan. Reach out to us using our Ask a Librarian page. We can work with you to determine the best ways to meet your research needs.

Ask a Middlebury Librarian