Research Activity

Research Activity

Order Description

Activity 4A: References and Citations

Before you begin, you need to know that this assignment will need to be sent to your instructor and to the other members in your team (for the purpose of completing Activity 4B: Peer Feedback). Submit this paper both in the Lesson 4A Assignments drop box and as an attachment to a post in the Activity 4B Team Discussion space. Failing to send your assignment to your team members by the due date will have a negative effect on your discussion grade.
Part 1: Guidelines for Proper Use of Citations
Visit each of the links that follow in the order that they are presented. The first two are self-quizzes on proper citation. The third is a nice overview of why we need to properly cite references. Pay particular attention in the third link (University of Toronto) to APA style. The web site offers good direct links to the American Psychological Association guidelines and gives some very specific examples of how to reference using APA style. Also, the references in the back of your textbooks are in APA style; you can use them as guides.
• Take a 10 question test at You will need to click on the link under “If you are not an IU student” toward the bottom of the page. You may find it helpful to review the links in the sidebar on the left before you take the test (IU Definition, Overview, Cases, and/or Practice).
• Click on the self quiz at
• Use this page for information on citing in APA style from the University of Toronto. Make sure to focus on the APA guidelines and not the MLA guidelines. Also, visit the APA links and review the examples of how to cite.
Part 2: Using References and Citations
• Write down five questions about human behavior that you are curious about.
• Pick the one that interests you most.
• Using the PsycINFO database, explore the existing research on that question.
• Refine your search strategy so that your search gives you at least 5 but no more than 40 relevant references.
• Write your search strategy and refinements of the strategy and how many references result.
• Briefly describe your impression of at least five of the articles after reading the abstracts.
• Record the five (or more) relevant references in APA style.
• Be sure to use only peer-reviewed references from journals; the PsycINFO references note whether the article is peer-reviewed or not.
• List your references on a separate page. Remember to select out just the peer-reviewed articles by selecting the peer-reviewed tab on the search results.
My experience with this assignment is that nearly all students find references relevant to their topic. If you can’t find any, pick another of your questions to research.
Lit searches almost always take several tries. You may need to narrow your search, to expand it, or to change the words until you get a manageable group of articles that are related to your specific topic. For example, when I tried a search with “childhood” and “popularity”, I came up with 182 references. So, I added the word “outgoing” to narrow it a bit, but then I came up with zero! I replaced “outgoing” with “extraversion” and came up with one reference. When I click on that reference, I can read an abstract of the article. Also, the article’s list of references is included, and many of them are highlighted. Some of those references are also relevant to my topic, and I can click on them and read their abstracts, and so on.
You will probably need to try a few different approaches. Keep track of what you are doing, since part of your assignment is to describe how you conducted the lit search.
When you find 5 references that report on research studies related to your research question, read the abstracts to find out what is known about your topic. Some questions to ask yourself as you are reading these abstracts:
• What appears to be known about this topic? What is the state of the art?
• Is there a lot of research done on this topic?
• Do some authors in particular appear to have written a lot about the topic?
Do researchers seem to agree about this topic, or are many different findings reported?
If you are having difficulties coming up with anything for your topic, try related search words for related topics. You may need to try several different approaches. As a last resort, change your topic altogether.
If you’re still having trouble, here’s another site that offers help on APA style: The site includes many examples — all you have to do is copy the format EXACTLY for the right type of reference.
NOTE: PsycINFO references are NOT formatted in APA style! I have no idea why. Make sure you don’t use PsycINFO formatting as an example of APA style!

If you would like to see a sample of a student paper submitted for this assignment that meets all the evaluation criteria, click here: Sample Paper
Search strategy adequately described (5 points)
• Description of initial strategy and refinement
• Uses PsycINFO
• No spelling and grammar mistakes
• References all from peer-reviewed sources

APA style perfect (5 points)
• This paper will automatically be graded off 5 points if APA style is not perfect.


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