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Psychology Junior Paper and Senior Thesis Guide

Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be a powerful tool for locating literature on your topic but it also has limitations. Keep these pros and cons in mind when working with Google Scholar.


  • Easy to get a quick impression of the scholarly conversation on your topic
  • Helpful in figuring out the language that authors use to describe a particular phenomenon
  • Google's relevancy ranked algorithm Identifies popular publications and authors
  • The Cited By link connects to more recent papers that have cited the article. 


  • Has no quality control filter (unlike a database)
  • Has very few methods for refining search results, often leading to thousands of irrelevant results
  • No method for limiting to only peer-reviewed articles
  • The relevancy ranked algorithm can exclude marginalized voices and over-emphasize articles with high numbers of citations.
  • Sometimes retrieves items which are decidedly not scholarly, like this lunch menu.

Psychology Databases

As useful as Google Scholar can be in locating relevant literature, at some point, you are likely to outgrow it and find that you need a way to refine your search to bring mack more relevant results. This is a good time to transition to a database that specializes in psychology research.

The following databases are the best bets for finding psychology literature. 

Multidisciplinary Databases

If you have a topic that is interdisciplinary in nature (for example, topics in school psychology, forensic psychology, or industrial psychology) you may want to explore our multidisciplinary databases. 

The following databases are the best bets for multidisciplinary research in the behavioral sciences: