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Penn State York Library Instructional Support

This guide presents an overview of library services for Penn State York students and faculty

When you need an idea, come to the library. We're full of them.

TRY IT!

Look at the article below, scrolling to the bottom of the article to see the journal reference. Note: The title of the journal article (written by Sarah Moore and published in the Journal of Consumer Research) is not the same as the title of the ScienceDirect article.

Copy the title of the journal article and paste it into LionSearch (below) in order to find the full text.

Take a look at some of the articles below and see if you can find the original research!

Browse through recent issues of the following magazines and journals for ideas on the latest research and topics!

MAGAZINES

Although you may not be able to use magazines as sources for your assignments, they are often a good source for ideas. Magazines, which are not peer-reviewed, are often aimed at the general public, and, as such, are easier to read than journal articles. The magazines below contain articles which will often lead you to a scholarly, peer-reviewed, journal article.

JOURNALS (scholarly, academic, peer-reviewed)

Search for Penn State eJournals

Browsing through journals using BrowZine (see BrowZine tab above) can also help you come up with ideas for your assignments! Here is an example:

I was browsing through the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, which at the time was Volume 55, Issue 4 (2018). The first article in this issue is titled "When Showrooming Increases Retailer Profit."  Since I didn't have any idea what showrooming is, I clicked on the article and found out, from reading the abstract, that showrooming is "the phenomenon of consumers visiting a brick-and-mortar (B&M) store to learn about products but then buying online to obtain lower prices" (Kuksov & Liao, p. 459). Since most of us have probably done this at one time or another - this could be a good topic for a concept assignment! It turns out our York campus library even has a book on it - More Than a Showroom: Strategies for Winning Back Online Shoppers.

The Encyclopedia of Social Psychology in Gale Virtual Reference Library is a good source for interesting concepts. Here are some that I found:

  • Counterfactual Thinking
  • Gambler's Fallacy
  • Loss Aversion
  • Omission Neglect

Interested in business? Look through the entries in both volumes of the Encyclopedia of Business and Finance. You'll see entries for concepts such as:

  • circular flow
  • crowdfunding
  • fiscal cliff and debt ceiling
  • trademarks 

You might be interested in browsing through some of these other sources in Gale Virtual Reference Library:

  • The Encyclopedia of Phobias, Fears, and Anxieties
  • Encyclopedia of Human Development
  • Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development
  • The Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide
  • Encyclopedia of Politics
  • Encyclopedia of Psychology & Law
  • Biology
  • Encyclopedia of Communication and Information
  • Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues
  • The Gale Encyclopedia of Science

University Libraries sponsors BrowZine, a service that allows you to browse, read, and monitor scholarly journals on your computer or mobile device. You can add journals to a personal bookshelf and save articles to read at a later time.

To use this service, you can download the app for iOS or Android or use it from your computer via BrowZine’s website.


See how this might help you find a concept or topic to write about for an assignment . . . 

I was browsing through the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, which at the time was Volume 55, Issue 4 (2018). The first article in this issue is titled "When Showrooming Increases Retailer Profit."  Since I didn't have any idea what showrooming was, I clicked on the article and found out, from reading the abstract, that showrooming is "the phenomenon of consumers visiting a brick-and-mortar (B&M) store to learn about products but then buying online to obtain lower prices" (Kuksov & Liao, p. 459). Since most of us have probably done this at one time or another - this could be a good topic for a concept assignment! It turns out our York campus library even has a book on it - More Than a Showroom: Strategies for Winning Back Online Shoppers.


BrowZine automatically detects your library’s location. If you are on campus, you will not be asked for your Penn State Access Account user ID and password. If you are off-campus, you will be required to authenticate to access the journals through BrowZine. Choose “Penn State University Libraries” from the list, and supply your Access Account user ID and password when prompted.


For an overview of BrowZine, watch the video introduction.


BrowZine is used for keeping current on topics in your field and for browsing issues of journals. You can't search BrowZine for topics, articles, and titles, but it's a great way to get ideas. Use it on your computer, your tablet, or your phone.

While you do not have to have an account to use BrowZine, you will need to create one in order to use the personalization feature of My Bookshelf and My Articles. I think these features are really useful and well worth creating the free account.

As you find interesting journals in your field, click ADD TO MY BOOKSHELF. You have 4 Bookcases available, each with 4 shelves (holding 4 books per shelf), meaning you can store up to 64 journals.

I don't think arranging your journals on your bookshelves is very intuitive, so here's my attempt to make sense of it for you!

When a journal is added to your bookshelf, it automatically is placed on the next available open slot on My Bookshelf. You will then need to click on the My Bookshelf tab to move the title to a new slot, if you want to organize your titles.

For example, when I added the American Journal of Education to My Bookshelf, it was added to the second shelf of my first Bookcase, which I have titled My Research. I want to move it to the first shelf (EDUC 586) of my third Bookcase, titled Education.

Clicking in the upper-right corner of the American Journal of Education in My Bookshelf opens the menu, with the choices to Move or Delete.

screen shot of journalClicking Move brings up an arrow, and this is where it gets tricky!  screen shot of journal showing showing arrow used to reposition on bookshelf

Once you see the arrow on your journal, you'll navigate to where you want it to go. If you want it to go on one of your other bookcases, you will use the arrows to the far right of your bookcase name.

screen shot showing location of arrows to move to other bookcases

When you reach the bookcase where you want to put the journal, you will see gray bars with down arrows on each shelf. When you hover over the gray bar where you want the journal to go, you will see a tiny image of the journal appear.

screen shot showing navigation used to move journals within bookshelves

Clicking on the gray bar with the image drops the journal title into the chosen slot.

screenshot of journals on the Education bookshelf

 

 

Sometimes, you just come across ideas by chance, so jot them down for future reference!

Here's an example:

A few years ago, I was thinking about buying my husband a GoPro. I read an article online called "Which GoPro Should You Buy?" (makes sense, right?). The article mentioned that GoPro limited their options to three cameras "because having too many options was perhaps causing confusion for potential buyers leading them to buy nothing at all."

I don't think I had ever really thought about that idea before, but I see their point. It turns out, there is a lot of research done on this concept, often referring to it as choice overload

I found a good overview article about this concept in the Journal of Consumer Research (2010, Vol. 37, No. 3), "Can There Ever Be Too Many Options? A Meta-Analytic Review of Choice Overload."  Checking the reference list in the article, I discovered an interesting book (which happens to be in our library) titled The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. 

It happens more than you think.

There are probably many times you have been in a situation, but didn't realize there's a name for your behavior. Here is another example. 

I recently went shopping and, after spending about an hour in the store, hadn't found anything I wanted to purchase. However, I felt like I couldn't leave without buying anything because then I would feel as if I had just wasted an hour. Even though it would be better to just save my money and leave, I ended up continuing to walk around until I found some small inexpensive item that would justify my shopping trip. It turns out, this is known as the sunk cost effect. It's also known as the sunk cost fallacy or the Concorde Fallacy (see the entry for it in the Credo Academic Core Collection Database.) There is also an interesting article in the journal Current Psychology (2018, Vol. 37, No. 3) titled "Is There a Sunk Cost Effect in Committed Relationships?

Even at the gas pump . . . 

gas pump filled with advertisements

One day as I mindlessly stood pumping gas, I realize how overwhelming it is to see all the signs and ads posted on the gas pump. Just looking at it made me think of the term information overload

Similar to choice overload, information overload describes the phenomenon of being exposed to too much information, making understanding and deciding difficult.

Both Gale Virtual Reference Library and the Credo Academic Core Collection databases provide overviews of the concept.

You can read more about it and learn ways to deal with it in books from our library, such as The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World and The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

You can read articles about it in New Scientist and the Economist, both available in the Academic Search Complete database.

The review article "The Dark Side of Information: Overload, Anxiety and Other Paradoxes and Pathologies" in the Journal of Information Science takes a comprehensive look at the topic.

I don't want to overwhelm you with other sources - there are plenty out there.

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Concepts