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PsycINFO - the comprehensive psychological literature index
PsycINFO is the best database to use for identifying scholarly and professional literature on psychology. Produced by the American Psychological Association, its coverage starts in the late 1800s. PsycINFO describes journal articles, books and book chapters, and dissertations.
PsycINFO offers special features for effective searching:
- PsycINFO subject headings
Subject headings are often hierarchical:Interpersonal Interaction
NT Interpersonal Attraction
NT Sexual Attraction
- Subject population demographics
Age group: The most specific age group is usually applied.
Population: Female, Male. As many terms as needed are applied.
- Methodology used in research
Use the Methodology option to limit your search to specific general methods. Definitions of methodologies are provided on the APA web site.
- Classification codes
Use these as "super subject headings" identifying primary subject matter.
HINT #1! ProQuest's Classification codes searching is useless. Consult the APA web site for the hierarchical scheme.
HINT #2!Search by using the 4-digit Classification code numbers, not the verbiage.3020 OR 3000 = Group & Interpersonal Processes OR Social Psychology222* = Tests & Testing (of all sorts)
- References, Cited by, and Documents with shared references
Got an article? Find it in PsycINFO, then use Cited By to see more recent articles that included it in their bibliographies.
Use Documents with shared references to identify clusters of articles with similar bibliographies.
Discovering PsycINFO subject headings
PsycINFO's real strength is its Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, subject headings assigned to every PsycINFO record. Searching PsycINFO effectively means discovering and combining these subject headings.
Here are two ways to discover PsycINFO subject headings, using this example:
"I'm interested in research on friends lying to each other."
- Search first, then look at your results, then search again.
- Advanced Search #1.
friends in Anywhere
AND (lying OR deceit) in Anywhere
Click on the right sidebar "Subject" facet. Then click on "Subject"'s "More options ...".
Look through the list of most-frequently occurring subject headings: friendship, deception, truth, honesty.
- Advanced Search #2.
friendship in Subject Heading (all) - SU
AND (deception OR truth OR honesty in Subject Heading (all) - SU
- Use the Thesaurus to develop subject heading synonym sets.
- Thesaurus Search #1.
Put the cursor in the first search box. Then click on "Thesaurus".
Search terms: friends Begins with
Check on "Friendship"'s "Explode" check box. Then click on "Add to Search".
- Thesaurus Search #2.
Put the cursor in the second row's first search box. Then click on "Thesaurus".
Search terms: lying Begins with
No check box! Click on "Lying" to find proper term, "Deception".
Check on "Deception"'s "Explode check box. Then click on "Add to Search".