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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Psychology: PSYC1200 Essay Assessment

A Library Guide to Psychology resources for students and staff of the University of Newcastle

Hello PSYC1200 Students, Welcome to the Help Guide!

School of Psychology

This guide has 8 mini-sections to get you started with your Essay assignment.

Before you start, it is strongly recommended that you:

  • read the Assessment Instructions in your Canvas course site
  • read the Marking Rubric for the assignment in your Canvas course site
  • think about your Topic and the issues with your ethical dilemma scenario

1. Get Started: Understand Your Topic and Research Questions

Before you start looking for information for your assignment, it is important to analyse your topic and questions. Think about:

  • What the question means and how you should go about answering it.
  • How much information do you need?
  • What kind of information have you been asked to use?
  • Are there any limiters such as time or geographic locations?

Identifying key concepts or keywords in your assignment will help you to locate relevant information more effectively. Also think about similar concepts and alternative terms eg Ethics OR code of conduct, aboriginal OR indigenous. 

These key concepts and keywords will form the basis of your search strategy. 

Watch the video below on topic analysis. What are your key concepts and keywords?

2. Know the Search Tips and Library Search

Once you have identified the keywords included in your assignment question, you can think about how to use these keywords to conduct your search.

Using appropriate search techniques such as Boolean, phrase searching, and truncation can make your search more effective.

Watch the video below and try the Library Search for books and articles 

3. Find Journal Articles Using Databases

Library journal databases are collections of journal articles. You can find the best databases for your topic on the Psychology Subject Guide.  

Not sure how to use them? Watch the following videos and try your search in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection (EBSCO) and in PsycINFO. 

4. Find Government or Organisational Documents by Google Advanced Search

Government and professional organisations' publications such as legal material, government policies, reports, statistics, professional standards and code of conducts may only be available on the internet. The simplest way to find such material is by Google advanced search.

Watch the following video on Google advanced search and try a search on code of conduct AND psycholog*Do you know how and why to limit the results by

5. Use Snowball Search with Google Scholar

Snowball search is using a key document on your topic as a starting point to find more other relevant publications by tracking down the citations.

  • Looking at the bibliography on the document to find more titles published on the same topic 
  • Using databases or Google scholar to find other article citing this document. 

Watch the video below and try a snowball search in Google Scholar using the doi 10.1037/a0037081

6. Evaluate Your Sources Using TRAAP

  • Locating sources appropriate for university assignments takes time and critical evaluation.
  • Understanding how to evaluate information should make it easier for you to choose sources for your assessments.

Watch the following video on evaluating your sources with the TRAAP method. 

7. Use the APA 7th Referencing Style

  • This assignment is a formal piece of writing that should adhere to APA guidelines.  
  • The APA referencing style is an author-date style. It uses short in-text citations, with full details in the reference list.
  • The reference list should be located at the end of your essay arranged in alphabetical order with hanging indent
  • Visit the Library Guide to APA style for more details.
  • Watch the video below and see the example reference list in APA 7th style





Australian Psychological Society. (2020). APS ethical guidelines for reporting abuse and neglect, and criminal activity. InPsych, 42(6).

Davis, A. W. (2014). Ethical issues for psychologists using communication technology: An Australian perspective on service provision flexibility. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 45(5), 303-308.

Kremer, P., Symmons, M., & Furlonger, B. (2018). Exploring the why of psychologist misconduct and malpractice: A thematic analysis of court decision documents. Australian Psychologist, 53(5), 454-463.

Psychology Board of Australia. (n.d.). Guidelines and policies. Psychology Board of Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2022 from

Robertson, M., Walter, G., & Bloch, S. (2016). Ethical use of the media by psychiatrists: Towards an antipodean formulation of the "Goldwater Rule". Australasian Psychiatry, 24(1), 26-29.

Sanders, C. (2015). Commentary on ethical and legal considerations when counselling children and families: The Australian context. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 36(4), 465-466.

Venkatesh, S., & Lovibond, P. (2020). Is the unexamined professional life worth practicing? Factors influencing ethical practice in psychologists. Ethics & Behavior, 30(5), 326-341.

8. Write Your Essay

This guide may help you format an APA Style student paper. However, it is for general guidance only. Depending on the requirement of your writing, different formatting specifications may be appropriate. If you are unsure, check with your lecturer. Always follow your lecturer’s instructions.

Watch the video below on Essay writing. Contact academic support for more help.