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PSY 207 Child Psychology

Should I always use peer-reviewed journal articles?

Peer reviewed and scholarly articles are great for college research!  Peer reviewed articles don't provide

  • basic summaries
  • general introduction to a topic

If you need general information, try a general article (don't limit to peer-reviewed) or a reference database such as Credo Reference

Databases

Use Library Databases to find peer-reviewed journal articles. Not all databases include peer-reviewed journals. These are the best ones for psychology:

Academic Search Ultimate Tutorial

What about Google Scholar?

Google Scholar searches specifically for scholarly materials such as journal articles, research reports, dissertations and theses, preprints, technical reports, patents, manuscripts in preparation, working papers and many other document types.

When you do a search in Google Scholar, you get a list of citations. You'll get links to the full text in the following cases:

  • if the Parkland library subscribes to the journal title
  • if it's from an open access journal
  • if the researcher posted the article on her/his/their website.

As a research tool, Google Scholar is good for many tasks, and not as good for others. When deciding whether to use Google Scholar or one of the Library's article databases, please keep the following in mind:

Google Scholar is good for...

  • Helping a beginning researcher identify journal titles and authors connected with subjects of interest.
  • Finding "gray literature"  like conference proceedings. It includes many articles that wouldn't get included in other indexing services.NOTE: these kinds of materials are not considered peer-reviewed.
  • Accessing books and articles in a single search.
  • Locating more information on partial citations.

Google Scholar cannot...

  • Sort/search by disciplinary field
  • Browse by title
  • Limit search results
  • Search the deep web

Keep in Mind:

  • You may get a long list of results, but you will only have access to the text of articles that the Parkland Library has paid subscriptions for, or that are freely available.
  • Not everything in Google Scholar is scholarly. Google Scholar searches academic websites (.edu) as well as journals and publisher websites. Search results can include PowerPoints, news announcements or unpublished materials, as well as articles and books. 
  • It is difficult to determine with 100% accuracy all that Google Scholar searches. Therefore, we do not know the breadth of what Google Scholar is indexing and consequently cannot judge the comprehensiveness or completeness of the results of a literature search.
  • We cannot tell how frequently items in Google Scholar are updated.

Parkland College Library
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Champaign, IL 61821

217/373-3839
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