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PSYC 360: Laboratory in Cognitive Neuroscience (HC) Fall 2017

Psychology 360: Laboratory in Cognitive Neuroscience (Rebecca Compton)

*Best Bets*

Use these databases to find articles in the field of neuroscience.

Find Empirical Articles

  • What is an empirical article?
    • An empirical article reports the findings of original research done by the authors of the article.
    • Empirical articles are usually published in peer-reviewed journals.
    • An empirical article poses a research question or states a hypothesis.
    • To determine whether or not you've found an empirical article, scan the article (or even just the abstract). Look for an introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections.
  • How do I find an empirical article?
    • There's no perfect way to find empirical articles. Most empirical articles will describe a study that has been done, so you're best bet is to use the word "study" as one of your search words. Some databases (e.g. PsycInfo) have a special limit for empirical articles.​
  • Questions to ponder:
    • If Newsweek reports the findings of a study on the eating habits of college students, is that an empirical article?
    • What is the difference between a peer-reviewed source and a popular source?

Why Use Curated Databases?

Curated Databases vs. Google Scholar: The Great Debate!

The materials in a curated database have been selected, organized, and looked after by someone.

Advantages of the curated databases recommended below:

  • The search interface and ability to refine results are typically much more powerful. Therefore:
  • You can pinpoint your search to the most relevant results rather than wading through thousands of irrelevant results.
  • Google Scholar results can be cluttered with dissertations, master's theses, undergraduate theses, and open access material (some of which is low quality). 
  • Many curated databases are subject-specific, whereas Google Scholar is hugely multidisciplinary. The right curated database would give you targeted, disciplinary results
  • Google Scholar poses an additional layer of getting to the full text

​Advantages of Google Scholar:

  • One advantage is the ability to do citation mapping. Click on "Cited by" to see article citations that cite the article at hand. The articles will necessarily be more recent and may give you more material on your topic.​
  • It will help to use a variety of databases, especially if you are having trouble finding enough material. Google Scholar is a great additional tool to use in such cases.