The University of Sussex Library has subject guides for every subject, which are collections of databases containing a variety of material, including journal articles specific to the subject. Today I’ll be reviewing the psychology subject guide.
I was introduced to the psychology subject guide in a psychology statistics lesson – we were shown how to access it through the library’s sub-site. In addition, it has often been mentioned by lecturers in revision sessions and drop in clinics for essays that I have attended. Now I can access the psychology subject guide really quickly because I have it bookmarked in my browser.
I have only used a handful of the databases on the subject guide, namely PsycArticles, PubMed, Sage Research Methods Online and Scopus. I was introduced to PsycArticles and PubMed by my lecturers, however it was useful to have the subject guide to introduce me to Scopus, which I otherwise would not have heard about. It’s also convenient to have the links to the databases I might need all in one place. Moreover, many of these databases require a subscription, which is provided if you go through the subject guide and are logged in to your university account. This is of course essential to view articles that require a subscription.
When in search of new articles, I will often first use Google Scholar, which is a database of journal articles of all kinds. I use it to browse and find articles because the search engine is excellent, and orders articles based on relevance and number of citations (which means you can easily view highly regarded articles) and includes articles with related words. In addition, you can click on ‘cited by’ and there’s a really exhaustive list of articles which have cited the article in question, which is a gold mine of related articles. In addition, with Google Scholar I have the confidence that every article is on there – old, new, famous, unknown. I have less confidence of this with the other databases. Although Google Scholar is not specific to psychology, I think it would be a worthy addition to the psychology subject guide page.
However, Google Scholar (and Scopus*) only provide citations and abstracts, so once I have found articles that I want to delve into, I will switch to PubMed or PsychArticles to read the full text of the articles I have selected. It would be ideal if PubMed or PsychArticles had a better search engine/browsing feature, because at the moment I feel like I miss out on a lot of important articles by using their search engines.
*I have since found out that Scopus actually does have full text access – apologies!