This psychology subject guide is a work-in-progress created to help support you in your research.

Most of the information here is related to the fields of cognitive, developmental and social/personality psychology with some links to behavioral neuroscience and clinical information.

General Research Advice

Before you begin searching for books or journal articles on your topic, you need to narrow your Psychology topic by considering these three questions:

  1. Who is the focus of my research topic (adolescents, men, college-aged women, elderly, etc.)?
  2. What is the status, illness, or phenomenon I am searching for (eating disorders, alcoholism, memory, etc.)?
  3. What do I want to focus on within this subject (treatment options, socio-economic factors, prevalence, etc.)?

Why is it important to narrow my topic?

If you can answer the above questions, then you will have the concepts (or terms) which you will use to search the databases.  Because there are nearly hundreds of thousands of articles on nearly every topic, you need to be specific in your searches so that you are not bombarded with too many results.

Books & Encyclopedias

BF The general call number for Psychology is BF. The reference books for psychology are in the first row of shelves nearest the south wall on the main floor of the WCC Library,  and the books, DVDs and video tapes that can be checked out are in the stacks, located on the second floor of the library on the first row on the east side of the library (near the windows).

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of psychology. To find additional basic reference materials (both that is in our reference collection and that can be checked out), check the library catalog using the keywords “psychology” “reference.”

Key Resources

DSM 5 :Diagnostic & statistical manual of mental disorders (print Reference RC 455.2 .C4D536 2000)

Psychology of classroom learning : An encyclopedia (print Reference LB 1060 .P89 2009)

Encyclopedia of multicultural psychology (print Reference GN 502 .E63 2006)

Dictionary of psychology (print Reference BF 31 .C65 2006)

Psychology eBooks can be found in several collections. Please refer to our eBooks Guide for more information.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is a free service to students, faculty and staff. Request a book or article and ILL staff will find it at another library and have it sent to the WCC library for you. Articles arrive via email and generally take just a couple days; books take longer.

Credo Reference

This database provides full-text online access to hundreds of multidisciplinary reference books, images, sound files, animations and videos.

Use the keyword “psychology” for books in the discipline of psychology.

Articles in journals, magazines and newspapers:

On the library’s main page, click “Articles &  Databases’ under FIND. There, you’ll find the list of online databases that will allow you to search for full-text articles by keywords, by the title of the publication, by subject or more, depending on the database. For scholarly, academic, and scientific journal articles, or for popular press, magazine and newspaper articles, search in Academic Search Premier or ProQuest Research Library.

Open Access Journals

Here are a few journals with complete access to full-text online articles (also check the Directory of Open Access Journals):

Film Resources

Films on Demand has online films in the area of abnormal psychology, gender and sexuality, social psychology and more.

Web Resources

American Psychological Association 
APA’s online resources for students of psychology as well as pages on topics in psychology.

National Institute of Mental Health  
Includes online brochures on mental disorders, reports and statistics.

Psychological Research on the Net  
Provides links to Psychological research experiments available on the Internet. Sponsored by the Hanover College Psychology Department 

Classics in the History of Psychology  
Links to the fulltext of over 80 classic works on the history of Psychology. Maintained at York U., Toronto, Canada.

Social Psychology Network  
Resource for teaching and research in Psychology. Maintained by faculty at Wesleyan University.

Psychology Topics from APA  
Information compiled by the American Psychological Association on more than 40 topics in Psychology.

American Psychiatric Association 
Geared toward psychiatrists; includes links to resources and public information which are useful for all mental health professionals.

Encyclopedia of Psychology
A directory of psychology-related web sites. Maintain by the Dept. of Psychology at Jacksonville State University.

Psych Central
Contains links to a variety of topics, including disorders, self-help quizzes, a medication library, a directory of online resources, and book reviews.

Collected links for “Psychological Scholars” (with categories such as “Teaching” and  “Connecting with Colleagues”) and “Budding Psychological Scholars” with categories such as Research,” “Studying and Classes,” and “The Next Step”).

Psychology World Wide Web Virtual Library
A gateway to websites, online and print journals, associations and organizations, and subtopics in the field of psychology. From Marymount University Library & Learning Services.

Psychology Today
Frequently updated, popular psychology and current topics.


Writing Up Your Research

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted.

The American Psychological Association has established a style that it uses in all of the books and journals that it publishes.

The standard citation style for Psychology is APA, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

When editors or teachers ask you to write in “APA style,” they do not mean writing style, per se. They are referring to the editorial style that many of the social and behavioral sciences have adopted to present written material in the field.

Editorial style consists of rules or guidelines that a publisher observes to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style concerns uniform use of such elements as

  • punctuation and abbreviations
  • construction of tables
  • selection of headings
  • citation of references
  • presentation of statistics
  • as well as many other elements that are a part of every manuscript

APA’s style rules and guidelines are set out in a reference book called The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. The 6th edition is the most current.

We have several copies of this APA Manual in the WCC Library; one at the reference desk, one in the reference section of the library and one in the stacks. The call number is BF76.7 P831.

We have links to help guides for several citation styles, including APA, on our Citations page.

Please note that when researchers talk about “APA style,” they may be referring to APA’s system of citations in-text and at the end of your paper. If you are unsure, you should clarify with your instructor or editor how they define “APA style.”

Our link to IRIS 4-2 (Information & Research Instruction Suite for 2-year Colleges) is a helpful tutorial for the research process from beginning to end.

We also have a page with help on making citations:

The importance of primary sources is particularly important in research in the field of psychology. Here’s a good evaluation of why, from a Psychology Wiki (a website developed collaboratively by a community of users).