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A quick guide to getting started using PsycINFO



Getting started

Is the key database for finding international peer reviewed literature in behavioural science and mental health. If you are studying psychology it is important to become familiar with searching in PsycINFO.Advantages:limits your search torelevant materialadvance features such as Subject Headings (thematic tags) and limits (e.g. age groups)most journal articles arepeer reviewed

About PsycINFO

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Search using Keywords

Search using Subject headings

Enter a keyword or phrase

Map your keyword to subject headings

Compare ways of searching

Will locate keywords in the item including the title and abstract. Keyword searches can be more comprehensive but may locate a lot of irrelevant results.

Will try to find a matching subject heading using the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms.Will also display other related terms that may be of interest.

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TheAdvanced Searchscreen appears by default. Type in a word or phrase e.g.personality formation.Tick theMap Term to Subject Heading box, PsycINFO will try to match your search to subject headings from the thesaurus. If you would like to search as a keyword untick this box.Using Subject Headingsis a great way to find relevant material, especially if you are unfamiliar with a topic as you don't need to know all the relevant terminology.

Watch the APA video on How (and why) to use the APA Thesaurus when searching PsycINFO via OvidSP for more information

Choosing subject headings

If you have selected to map terms you will now see a list of subject headings that best match your search term. For our example searchPersonality Formation it has found these subject headings with Personality Development is the closest match.

Select Explode to include all the narrower headings underneath your subject heading

Select Focus to find articles when your chosen subject heading reflects the main topic of the article

Use the Scope information icon to find out the definition and coverage of a heading

If there is no subject heading to match your search terms you can search by keyword instead

Choosing subject headings

Click on asubject heading nameto display more information including:What the term is used for e.g. Personality Development is used for Character Development and Character FormationBroader terms e.g. Psychsocial DevelopmentNarrower termsyou can also search for all of these by clicking Explode or select individually.Once you have selected your subject heading(s) click

Search results

From the search results page you can view your results, conduct another search or see details about your search.See the i for more info

Here you will see how many items your search found, what type of search you did and actions such as display, save and export

You can run another search from here or view the items you found below

Here are your search results. Use the refine options on the left if you would like to narrow your results

Here is a numbered list of your search history. Combine searches with AND and OR to create a new search.

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Combine searches

Search for your first concept as a keyword(s) or selected subject heading

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

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Search for your second concept by repeating step 2

From the search history page use the tick box to select the searches you want to combine:useAND to combine 2 different concepts (results must have both terms)useOR to combine 2 similar concepts (results can have either terms)


Learn more about PsycINFO by viewing the quick reference guide (pdf), attend an online training session or view the video.

This class highlights the unique structure of this database and includes a detailed review of specific limits, fields and search tips for this resource.Upcoming Webex LiveSessions

Demonstrates how to use PsycINFO including different search options, limits and output. Video includes an index so you can watch all or skip to a specific section.Video (15m 31s)

This quick reference guide will demonstrate how to search PsycINFO on the Ovid platformQuick reference guide (pdf)