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Psychology: PSYC6050 Research Proposal

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

Hello PSYC6050 Students, Welcome to the Help Guide!

School of Psychology

This guide has 8 mini-sections to help you with your Research proposal assignment.

Before you start, it is strongly recommended that you:

  • read the Assignment Instructions in your Canvas course site
  • read the Grading Scheme for the assignments in your Canvas course site

1. Analyse Your Research Topic

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, age, gender, 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 e.g. intelligence OR IQ, 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. Understand the Search Tips and Search Strategies

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 operators, phrase searching , and Truncation . can make your search more effective.

Watch the video below and learn about the search tips and strategies.  

3. Use Library Search to Find Books and Articles

Library Search is the University of Newcastle Library's main discovery tool. You can find books, journal articles and more by title, author or keyword.

Watch the video below on Library Search and try the Library Search to find books and peer-reviewed journal articles.

4. 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)


ScienceDirect Journals


Medline 1946- (OVID) and Embase (OVID) and PsycINFO (OVID)



Scopus basic search


Web of science

5. 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. 

For more information see our Resource Evaluation Tool

6. Use the APA 7th Referencing Style

  • 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 videos below on APA and In-text citations and reference list, and see the example reference list in APA 7th style.

Referencing - APA7 from Academic Learning Support on Vimeo.

In-text Citations and Reference Lists



American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association.

Burton, L. J. (2021). An interactive approach to writing essays and research reports in psychology (5th ed.). Wiley.

Castell, E., Bullen, J., Garvey, D., & Jones, N. (2018). Critical reflexivity in Indigenous and cross‐cultural psychology: A decolonial approach to curriculum? American Journal of Community Psychology, 62(3-4), 261-271.

Colman, A. M. (2015). A dictionary of psychology (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Porter, S., Taylor, K., & Ten Brinke, L. (2008). Memory for media: Investigation of false memories for negatively and positively charged public events. Memory, 16(6), 658-666.

Subramanyam, R. (2013). Art of reading a journal article: methodically and effectively. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 17(1), 65-70.

Young, J. M., & Solomon, M. J. (2009). How to critically appraise an article. Nature Clinical Practice. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 6(2), 82-91.

7. Read Effectively for Your Research

You won’t be able to read everything on your topic and you don’t need to read a source from cover to cover, you need to read effectively.

Watch the video below on reading for your research

8. Write Your Research Proposal

The following resources may help you with your workplace bog assignment. However, they are 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 videos below on essay and report writing. Contact academic support for more help if needed.