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PSYC 480-301: Modern Young Adulthood (Fall 2016): Finding articles - PsycINFO

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.
    2950 = Marriage & Family
    3233 OR 3383 = Substance Abuse & Addiction, Drug & Alcohol Addiction
    222* = 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.

Searching PsycINFO for young adults research

The PsycINFO "Age Group" field makes it very easy to identify articles specifically about young adults. These terms are defined in the APA's Record Structure for APA Databases. The most specific age group treated by the article is the age group that gets indexed by PsycINFO

For PsycINFOrecords 1996-present, the relevant age groups for emerging and young adults are:

Adolescence 13-17 years
Adulthood 18 years and older
  Young Adulthood 18-29 years
  Thirties 30-39 years


For PsycINFO records 1966-1995, only Adolescence and Adulthood were used for these age groups. Most pre-1967 PsycINFO records do not have Age Groups indexing.

Searching for Age Groups. Scroll down the PsycINFO Advanced Search page to the More Search Options : Age Group check box. Select the specific age group or groups that meet your interest. Then scroll back up and fill out the Advanced Search template with your subject terms.

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."

  1. Search first, then look at your results, then search again.
    • Advanced Search #1.
      friends in Anywhere
      AND (lying OR deceit) in Anywhere
    • Results.
      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
  2. 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".