Psychology of Women:

How to Do Research in HSU Library

Before beginning your research project, it is recommended that you think about how comprehensive your research must be, how current your sources of information need to be, and your intended audience's level of expertise. Then define your research topic as specifically as possible and don't be afraid to refine your topic as you learn more about it. Suggested guidelines for doing library research follow and may be adapted to fit your needs.


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How do I find background information on my topic?
How do I find out if the Library has books on my topic?
How do I find articles in periodicals on my topic?
Another way to do research -- Citation Searching!!!
How do I find out if the Library has the item I need?
How do I format my references?
What if the Library doesn't have the item I need?
What about resources available on the Internet or World Wide Web?
A final caveat: Evaluate what you find!

How do I find background information on my topic?

Reference MaterialsReference Materials -- can provide you with the big picture:  background information, major theories and/or researchers,and definitions of key terms. There are print and electronic reference sources in HSU Library, such as: Back to Table of Contents

How do I find out if the Library has books on my topic?

Library Catalog - the guide to books and periodicals in the HSU Library. Most government documents (US and California) are not listed in the Library Catalog. Back to Table of Contents

How do I find articles in periodicals on my topic?

Indexes and AbstractsIndexes and Abstracts

Listed below are the indexes and abstracts most appropriate for research in the psychology of women. In addition to periodical articles, indexes and abstracts may also index articles/reports published in conference proceedings, government documents, technical reports, dissertations, and other sources.  Indexes and abstracts vary in scope, depth and breadth of subject coverage. The HSU Library - Search Strategy Worksheet gives a step-by-step description of how to develop a search strategy for electronic indexes. There are also guides to Vocabulary for Searching and Techniques for Searching.

Unless otherwise noted, electronic indexes and abstracts are available only to HSU faculty, students and staff. If you are trying to connect from off-campus, you will need to "authenticate" yourself in order to connect to the indexes and abstracts. See Off Campus Access to Databases for more information on how to do this.

Major Indexes/Abstracts

Other Indexes/Abstracts you might wish to consider are listed below. These are in broader and/or related subject disciplines and may be useful depending on the nature of your topic.

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Another way to do research -- Citation Searching!!!

If you know of a particularly relevant or "classic" article on your topic, you may use Social Sciences Citation Index (abstract H 1 S62 1966-97) or Social SciSearch (1972 to date) to locate more recent articles which cite that relevant article. The principle here is that the citing article is on a subject closely related to that of the earlier article. Use the Citation Index portion of Social Sciences Citation Index or the Citation Searching section of Social SciSearch to look up the author of the highly relevant or "classic" article. If any of the author's works have been cited or listed in the bibliography of works published during the time frame of the index, it will appear in the Citation Index along with a listing of the current authors citing it. This is a way to search the literature forward from an earlier article to the present time as opposed to the more familiar practice of finding a recent article and following its bibliography or list of citations backward in time.

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How do I find out if the Library has the item I need?

Once you have a list of citations or references on the topic you are researching, you must determine if HSU Library has the article, book, report or document cited. Check the Library Catalog for books, reports, dissertations, and the complete titles of periodicals (journals, magazines) containing articles of interest. The fulltext of the article you are seeking may be available online. The HSU Journal and Newspaper Finder is a searchable guide to the 15,000 journals, magazines, newspapers and other serials accessible online. It also contains links to the Library Catalog records for the periodicals we hold in paper format.

Indexes and abstracts often use abbreviations in their citations which you will need to decipher. Many indexes and abstracts publish separate lists of the abbreviations used. Try  HSU Library - Finding Periodical Title Abbreviations,  or consult a reference librarian at the Library's Information Desk (hours) to locate an appropriate list of abbreviations, or use the reference book, Periodical Title Abbreviations: By Abbreviation (ref Z 6945 A2 P47), located behind the Reference Desk on the first floor. Do not guess at what abbreviations mean!

Remember that most government documents are not listed in the Library Catalog. If you wish to find a government document, consult Government Information. For US documents, you may check MarciveWeb DOCS Catalog of U.S. Government Publications to see if the Library has the document. You may also ask a reference librarian for assistance at the Reference Desk on the first floor (hours) or in the Humboldt Room, room 308 (hours).

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How Do I Format my References?

The American Psychological Association has a style manual which explains how to list your references in the text of your paper and what information, in what order, should be provided in your bibliography or list of references at the end of your paper. The official title of this book is Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (ref BF 76.7 P83 2001)

There are also some informative online guides to formatting references and the proper style for papers in psychology. Here's a list of a few of them:

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What if the Library doesn't have the item I need?

If the Library does not have the book, report, document, article, etc. which you need, you may request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). This process usually takes 10 days to two weeks so it is a good idea to begin your research early. You will receive email notification. Articles may be retrieved electronically from a server and books may be checked out at the Circulation Desk.

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What about resources available on the Internet or World Wide Web?

There are many resources on the psychology of women available on the Internet and World Wide Web. There are guides available for Psychology and Women's Studies. Additional guides are available on Women in Development .

These sites might be of interest:

If you desire more information on the Internet and how to search it, see OWL 3: Searching the Web

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A Final Caveat: Evaluate What You Find!

You must critically evaluate the resources found online (as well as in the Library) by asking yourself the following questions:             ...and so on....

More detailed information on how to evaluate resources may be found in the following:

Be especially careful when surfing the Web!! The following references are especially helpful and tell you what to look for (and look out for): Back to Table of Contents
Send comments and suggestions about this page to: Corryn Crosby-Muilenburg
Last Updated: April 6, 2006.Last Updated: April 6, 2006
Links Checked: April 6, 2006.Links Checked: April 6, 2006
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