Paying attention to the latest psychology research plays a major role in my self improvement journey.
I like to learn as much as possible about our minds and how they work, so over the years I’ve come up with some really easy ways to make sure I don’t miss anything new and important that comes out.
This article describes the key things you can do to improve your own psychology research. This is essentially how I find almost every new study I write about – so I believe there’s a lot of value in doing this on your own.
Create a news feed of all the best psychology sites and blogs
There are many different psychology sites and blogs out there – some of them are good, some of them are decent, and some of them are pretty bad.
In general, the best psychology websites are the ones that report on scientific studies and don’t editorialize them too much with their own interpretations and theories.
I mostly collect psychology sites that touch on actual psychology research (usually with links to an abstract or PDF). In this way, I know the article isn’t just saying whatever sounds good, but is backing up their claims with empirical evidence.
No website is perfect on their reporting of psychology research. You have to learn to take the good with the bad, and think critically about whatever you read.
I currently have about 50 sites on my psychology feed. For some of the websites, 90% of their articles aren’t that good, but it’s worth it for that 10% of gems they will share.
Good examples to add to your own feed:
- BPS Research Digest
- Mind Hacks
- Discover (Mind + Brain section)
- Atlantic (Health)
- New Scientist (Health)
- Wired (Science)
- Brain Blogger
These sites can be very useful because even if you find an article that isn’t that good, they will usually mention scientific studies that you can look up on your own or find other articles about.
I also follow sites like Psychology Today and Psych Central because even though a lot of their articles don’t mention scientific studies at all – some of them do – and it also helps me stay in touch with trends in pop psychology.
Of course, you can choose to add (or not) any site you want to your own personal feed. Always keep a look out for new sites you may come across and add them to your list if you find one you like.
Get scientific journal e-mail alerts
Academic journals are the primary source for most psychology research. They reflect the work directly done by researchers and scientists in their respective fields of study.
You can stay updated on this research by signing up for “email alerts” for whatever journal you want to follow more closely. The 2 main sites I use to accomplish this are:
- Sage (Click “Email Alerts” button on right sidebar, then select “Journal Alerts,” create a new profile)
- Springer (Click “My Springer,” create a new profile, then select “Manage Alerts” while logged in)
You have to make a new profile on both of these sites to get “email alerts” – but it’s completely free and doesn’t take much time.
Once you have a profile, you can pick and choose which individual journals you want to get alerts from. Then whenever a new issue is published you’ll get an email that includes 1) Table of Contents and 2) Abstracts for each study mentioned in that journal issue.
This is a really great way to follow psychology research. Almost all of the major publications I mentioned above already do this.
Unfortunately, most of the time you have to pay money to read the full article this way. However this is still a really great tool to get summaries of the latest research and at least stay updated on current trends from the academic side of things.
Use Google to find full academic articles
Once you have a psychology feed and email alerts set-up, you have a great foundation for discovering new psychology research. The next step is using this information to try to find the full academic articles.
You can sometimes find the full articles by searching “[Title of Paper] PDF” or “[Author + Year] PDF” on Google – or you can search for the paper directly at Google Scholar, which is a special Google search that only filters out academic publications.
If this doesn’t work, you can also try going to /r/Scholar (on Reddit) and someone may be kind enough to share the full article with you if they have access to it.
For the average person, reading academic articles can be confusing and tedious. Usually the introductions and conclusions are the most informative and practical sections, but it’s also good practice to read through the methods and results to become more familiar with the details of each study.
See if your college, university, or library has access to a database
Many colleges or universities may already have access to a research database for their students and teachers. I graduated several years ago, but I can still access my university’s database for psychology research (and anything else, if I really wanted).
These databases usually have to be accessed through your college or university’s website, and they usually require you to use your username or email you had at that institution – but once you get in you have access to the same database everyone else has access to.
If you’re currently going to college (or even if you did in the past), try asking someone if there is an online database for psychology research and how you can access it. You may also want to try checking out your options at your local library.
Doing your own psychology research can be very valuable for learning more about your mind and finding out information that could potentially benefit you and your life.
Don’t miss any new articles and resources in psychology and self improvement: