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Scientific Literature: Industrial/Organizational Psychology Graduate Students

About this Guide

This tutorial is aimed to help I/O graduate students to learn what is scientific literature, and how to conduct scientific research . Students learn scientific research from their professors, curricular, and their own practice. This tutorial focuses on effectively using library resources to conduct scientific research. 

Scientific Literature

What is scientific literature? Utilizing the Scientific Literature by Anne E. Egger, Ph.D., Anthony Carpi, Ph.D. is an excellent summary. 

Why is scientific literature important?

The reason why access to the literature is so important is because it is a reliable archive of scientific research. The fact that it is reliable does not mean that every published paper is correct, but it means that progress in our understanding can be tracked through time.

What types of publications are included in the scientific literature?

Scientific publications that report original empirical and theoretical work in the natural and social sciences are often called scientific literature. They are,

  • Primary literature : original work published in scientific journals, read more
  • Secondary literature : review articles that review others' works (synthesis of work, highlighting new lines of research)
  • Tertiary sources : encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc.

Specifically, they are,

  • Research articles published in scientific journals (e.g. peer-reviewed journals, see also journal ranking)
  • Patents for science and technology
  • Presentations at academic conferences
  • Government reports
  • Books, technical reports, pamphlets, conference, working papers, dissertations, theses, and more

Use this link to test yourself, if you really understand scientific literature:

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