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HDFS 129: Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies

Ray Petren (Penn State Scranton)


Searching for Books

Conducting a simple search of "infant self-awareness" in the University Libraries' Catalog results in discovering a book ideal for my research paper. It's helpful to start with a broad search and narrow as you go along.

cover art of book titles Emotional Development: Attachment Relationships and the Emerging Self by Karen S. Rosen depicting a child's hand holding a stuffed teddy bear


Searching for Articles

In the PsycINFO database, conducting a search for "infant self-awareness" results in several relevant journal articles.  Reading the abstract helps to determine whether an article fits my research question or falls outside of its scope.  

image of the abstract on the first page of a scholarly journal article

Once I have gathered articles from this database, I can repeat the process in other databases to find different journal articles.  It's wise to gather more articles than needed because as you read the articles you may find that some do not fit your specific research topic as well as you originally thought they did.  

2. Discover

Searching for Scholarly Information

  • Start by using the University Libraries' Catalog to search for scholarly books on your research topic.  Book chapters will cover a topic in a broader scope than research articles to give you a more holistic understanding.  Note, you do not have to use an entire book but can cite each chapter you use as a separate scholarly source.  
  • Using databases specific to disciplinary aspects of Human Development and Family Studies, search for journal articles to continue your research.  Journal articles focus on highly specific research studies conducted by experts.
  • Search for public research sources by using the websites of reputable institutions and associations such as the Pew Research Center, Child Trends, and the United States Census.

Resources for Finding Scholarly Sources

University Libraries' Catalog for Books

Subject-Specific Databases for Journal Articles

        Institutions and Associations for Public Research