What Should Psychology Majors Know?
By the time they graduate all majors in Psychology should have a clear understanding of how to navigate the system of information resources available at Smith. At the very least they should graduate from Smith with the ability to recognize and evaluate high quality research. We want to provide majors with the skills to track down relevant information on any topic of interest to them. Ideally this should include (1) the ability to locate information from professional data bases that abstract knowledge in psychology (such as PSYCINFO), (2) the ability to evaluate the quality of this information, and (3) the ability to effectively use this information for answering questions that might pertain to their own life-long learning or their ability to initiate independent research.
Writing Intensive Classes
Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have the learned the following skills:
These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Neilson Library Reference Department's Ask a Librarian options.
Beginning Psychology Majors
First and second year psychology students will be introduced to basic information literacy skills.
Psychology Journals - Located in the Science Library
Specialty Journals for Research Tracks in Psychology - Science Library
Advanced Psychology Majors
In Which Classes Should Students Learn These Skills?
The Psychology Department incorporates information literacy into courses across levels; a sampling is below.
In addition, as a scientific discipline, the psychology department works closely with students in conducting original empirical research. Students may work in faculty labs or, with faculty approval, initiate an independent research project. In both of these instances students are routinely asked to conduct literature searches in order to contribute to the research enterprise. Students who work with faculty on research often enroll in Psychology 400 (Special Studies) or Psychology 432d (Honors Thesis). In recent years approximately 70 psychology students a year work with faculty in their labs. Finally, many of our other introductory (100-level) and intermediate (200-level) courses require a review of some part of the psychology literature to complete written assignments (e.g., a scientific literature review on a topic relevant for each particular course).
Students must learn how to make clear distinctions between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The ethical use of information means that students must be able to acknowledge when they incorporate the work of others into their own work. Therefore, every written or oral production in the discipline must clearly state its sources. This ethical issue will be enforced in all psychology courses at Smith College.
June 10, 2014