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Research guide for Psychology students, with links to databases, books, APA citation, and other helpful resources.

Information Type Definitions

Reference Books & Articles (In print or online)

Books containing brief articles meant to be used for consultation on a particular subject rather than for reading cover to cover. Brief overviews of a topic, defining key information, and providing facts and figures. Examples include:

  • Almanacs
  • Atlases
  • Dictionaries, general
  • Dictionaries, specialized
  • Encyclopedias, general
  • Encyclopedias, specialized
  • Gazetteers (geographical)
  • Statistics (such as Statistical Abstract of the United States)

Article Types (In print or online)

Pieces published periodically in monthly or quarterly publications. Magazines and journals are also referred to as “periodicals.”

  • Magazine: popular focus, glossy, intended for a general audience, covers popular topics/current events, written by journalists or professional writers rather than experts in a field. Intended for a general audience.
  • Journal: narrowly focused research, written by experts for experts, include in depth analysis with cited reference list leading to other scholarly work in the field, undergo the process of peer-review to ensure sound methodology and credible findings. Intended for an expert level audience. The gold standard of information types.
  • Trade: Focus is on industry trends, new products and techniques. Use industry jargon understandable to people in the field. Articles are not peer-reviewed. Sources are mentioned and may include short lists of references. Intended for practitioners of a business, profession, or industry.
  • News: Focus is on current events often "in the moment" as those events are unfolding. Frequently updated as more information becomes available during a news cycle. Useful for tracking a story as it develops. Intended for a general audience.


Publicly accessible collections of webpages created and maintained by individuals, organizations, groups, government entities, or businesses. Each website’s domain ending is intended to indicate the type of website it is, although users must be careful because any entity can register names with a domain ending regardless of actual website type. In general domain endings indicate:

  • .com = commercial
  • .edu = educational
  • .gov=government website
  • .net= network, generally provided by web service companies
  • .org = for-profit or nonprofit organizations
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