Introduction

This tutorial gives tips on searching in PsycINFO and other helpful research databases. You will use the arrows below to move through the tutorial and follow along by completing the guided searches in the PsycINFO database to the right. 

The tutorial covers:

  • what’s in PsycINFO
  • search tips
  • how to find the full text of articles
  • useful research tools
  • adding other databases to your search

What is PsycInfo?

PsycINFO is a specialized library database that is one of the top resources for research through a psychological lens.

Here you’ll find academic journal articles (including peer-reviewed articles) as well as descriptions of books and dissertations in family studies, human development, parenting, education, therapy, and more.

Why Use PsycINFO?

Why should you use this database in your search for articles? Some of the benefits of using PsycINFO instead of a search engine like Google include:

  • Detailed tagging of articles with specific subject terms
  • Powerful filters like age group and methodology
  • Full text of articles

These allow you to:

  • Reduce results that aren’t relevant
  • Save time by taking some of the guesswork out of search terms
  • Click through to free full text without hitting paywalls

Let’s take a closer look at some of PsycINFO’s features.

Searching

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Let’s say you’re interested in doing research on personality. Let’s begin searching in PsycINFO by putting personality in the top search box and hit Search.

What happens?

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Over 449,000 results! This is fewer than you’d get in Google Scholar), but still too many.

Luckily, there are ways we can narrow this down.

Let’s go back to the first search screen to explore. Click Advanced Search underneath the third search box to go back.

Advanced Search in PsycINFO is below search bars

Searching

3 of 6Scroll down to look at the additional filters we can apply to our search:
  • Age Groups 

Let's say we are interested in the development of personality in infancy, so we select Infancy (2-23 mo).

  • Population Group

Here, you can define that you’re interested in humans, which will eliminate studies about animals. Select Human.

  • Methodology

Let's say our assignment is to find an empirical study, specifically a quantitative study, let’s select Empirical Study.

What other filters are available in PsycINFO?

Once you’ve made those selections, hit search.

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We still get over 4,900 results, but the results are starting to hone in more on the topic we’re most interested in, the development of personality in infancy.

To find search terms that will increase the relevancy of your results, scan through the Subjects listed under each article.

This example shows us that articles about personality development are tagged with that specific term.

Personality development subject tags

So instead of just searching personality as a keyword, it would be more precise to search personality development as a subject. Type personality development into the first search box, and select DE Subjects [exact] from the dropdown menu to the right to modify your search. This will include only articles tagged with the exact subject you want. Hit Search.

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What happens?

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Next, let’s limit our search to peer-reviewed academic journal articles since 2012 to get a picture of recent academic research.

Limit To: Peer Reviewed

A few dozen results is a great place to settle with an initial search in a research database. You have enough results that you can skim a few pages to get a sense of subtopics in your topic, without feeling so overwhelmed you don’t make it past the first result.

Getting the Article

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Now the fun part! You've found something great and want to dive into it.

But wait, even if you click on the title of the article, what you are viewing isn't the whole article…

If the article is available in this database, you will see either a html full text or a pdf full text icon on the left side of the page. Clicking on those icons will take you to the full article.

PDF Full Text

But what if those icons aren't there?

Getting the Article

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In place of the full text icons, you may see an ArticleLinker icon. ArticleLinker is a guide that will help you find the full article if it's not in this article database. Follow the steps to get to your article.

Article Linker

Find more details about using ArticleLinker.

Note: If you are not a student at the Logan campus, you will need to request any articles that are not electronically available through Interlibrary Loan. Use the link within ArticleLinker to do this.

Useful Tools

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PsycINFO and other EBSCO databases have some other useful tools, including the option to get you started with citing the articles you’ve found.

Click on the title of an article to open its article record. On the right side you’ll see an icon that looks like a sheet of paper and says Cite.

Cite Button

Click on it to see your article formatted in a number of citation styles, including APA. Scroll down to find the one you need, and then copy and paste it into your bibliography.

Caution: Make sure you look over the citation with a citation guide to make sure there aren't any mistakes. Sometimes capitalization of the article title can be wrong in APA.

Useful Tools

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Look at the other options below Tools (on the right side of an article record).

What other great things does PsycINFO allow me to do with an article?

Searching Beyond PsycINFO

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Finally, if you have a topic that fits into multiple disciplines you can add databases to your search to expand the pool of articles you’re searching in. 

To add databases, click on Choose Databases above the first search box.

Choose Databases in PsycINFO

Recommended additional databases for psychology research include (click each to see more info):

  • Health Source Academic
  • Professional Development Database 
  • Education Source and ERIC
  • Business Source Complete
  • SPORTdiscus

Once you’ve finished exploring the list of additional databases, click the Okay button at the bottom of the screen.

Searching Beyond PsycINFO

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Congratulations! You have now completed the tutorial.

Want more ideas? Need some help?

  • The library has a collection of quick how to guides to help you with your research.
  • We also have a video demonstration of PsycINFO in action.
  • You can always email or call the FCHD librarian for help: https://library.usu.edu/librarians/

Go to the next page if you need to e-mail a completion certificate to your instructor.

Happy researching!

Certificate

Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.

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