-- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
In some fields of psychology, developments are occurring so rapidly that our understanding of particular phenomena may change in just a few months with the publication of significant new research findings. It is therefore necessary to get very recent material in order to understand the currently accepted theories or at least to understand the contradictory lines of evidence. As a student, you should also be aware that professors tend to have greater respect for papers which cite very recent work. You might even educate the professor by using sources of which he or she is not aware.
Unfortunately, even if you check all of the latest issues of the indexes mentioned in Chapters 4 and 5, you may be missing the most current material on your subject. The time lag between publication of an issue of a journal and publication of the index which analyzes it can be anywhere from eight weeks to a year or more. While indexes like Psychological Abstracts have made monumental efforts in recent years to reduce the gap, there remains a time period, generally about six months, between the literature covered in the most recent issue of an index and the time at which you are doing the search.