Where to look for sources of information

The university library is the main place to find information, either through its electronic journal searchers on the website, or in the library building.  The psychology librarian, Joan Davison, provides a general index of all the information and sources available to psychology students and introduction for new students (pdf).

Finding printed sources in the library

The library is mainly used to store books for borrowing, though there are a small number of print journals and other items, including audiovisual items.  You can find such items using the library catalogue. Psychology books are mainly located in St Peter's library, but some topics, such as educational psychology and biological psychology, also have bookstock on the Chester Road campus (Murray library).  You can have items sent across from one library to the other (though if you're in a hurry, the bus is quicker!).

In St Peter's library, make sure you know where the main psychology book collection is, and where short loan and reference-only books are, as well as where the physical copies of psychology journals are kept, in case you would like to browse there at any time (though these days you may find it easier to browse online, where there are any more journals).  Items which are on loan to another user can be reserved so that they are kept for you when they are returned to the library.

Finding electronic journal articles

The quickest way of finding journal articles is through Discover (the library's journal search engine), entered through the library homepage.  Discover is easy to use and searches many of the main journals across all disciplines.  This makes is particularly suitable if your topic crosses discipline boundaries, for example if you are researching cyberpsychology, educational psychology or psycholinguistics.  Guides to using Discover are on the library site.  The most important thing to remember is to login in to Discover before you perform your first search, otherwise very few articles will be made available to you.  If you log in, then you will have access to the hundreds of journals which the university has a subscription to, giving you full text access to those.

However Discover has disadvantages: it does not search all the psychology journals, and can miss relevant sources.  It is also annoying if you are searching using keywords which occur in some other discipline, such as medicine or physics, because the psychology papers may be drowned out by papers in the other subjects.  You can use filters to focus in on psychology, but it may be quicker to use PsycArticles and the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences databases instead.

If you are having difficulty finding relevant articles, or you need to do a comprehensive survey of the literature (e.g. for your project), then you should be using the psychology databases to search for sources.  These databases are accessed through Discover rather than using a direct link, so I can't link to them from this site.

Those psychology databases most commonly used by researchers are (in no particular order, since it is a matter of personal preference):

These databases are accessed through Discover: see the guide called Using the "A-Z" to go directly to websites like ScienceDirect, and for checking e-access to journal titles.  When in Discover, click on A-Z, then select Resources, and you will find a huge list of all the databases that the university subscribes to.  Scroll down to find the ones listed above, or any others which might interest you.  Then carry out a search for your key words, exactly as you do with Discover.  This will list journal articles and you will see if the University of Sunderland subscribes to an electronic full-text copy of that journal.

If you are trying to find a particular journal article and none of these methods have been successful, then it is always worth trying

google scholar

or even


If you are searching ordinary google, then it is recommended that you use the advanced search to have more control over results - for example limiting the search to Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files is more likely to give you just electronic journal articles and not random websites.

Whatever happens, you never need to pay to get hold of journal articles.  If the full text is not available anywhere, then put in an inter-library loan (see below).

Inter-library loans


  • No labels