Skip to Main Content


This guide provides descriptions of commonly used library resources for research and scholarship in the field of psychology.

1) Form your topic

With so many topics to choose from, deciding what to write about for your research assignment can induce anxiety.

On this page, you will find a couple of short videos on the process as well as resources for finding background or reference information about the topics you may be considering.

On the next page, 2) Craft your search, you will learn how to transform your topic into a research question and then how to transform your research question into an effective search strategy.

Don't Panic! Watch This (Run-time: 3 minutes, 11 seconds)

4 Steps to Designing your Topic (Run-time: 50 seconds)

Background Information

Reference works, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, provide background information on a topic and are especially useful at the beginning of a research project. They can help you get an overview of a topic, gather fast facts, define terms, theories, and people in an area, focus your argument and find further readings written by experts in the field.

The following online reference works are recommended for gathering background information in Social Work and Psychology: