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PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES User Guide


These are the best databases for accessing the scholarly literature in the field of Psychology. Both provide coverage of academic journal articles, books, and dissertations. PsycINFO offers citations from over 2,200 peer-reviewed journals and some full-text, while PsycARTICLES provides the complete full-text of 60 journals published by the APA and its affiliates. They use the same EBSCOhost interface, so the following instructions apply to both databases.

Screenshot of PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES


Keyword Searching

Because of the usefulness of the limiter options, it is suggested that you use the Advanced Search module, which is the default search mode. Enter keywords representing your topic in the text boxes at top. By default, each search line is connected with the Boolean "AND" operator. This enables you to input a different concept or aspect of your topic on each line, while ensuring that your search results will address all the concepts. You can use the Boolean "OR" within a text box to link together synonyms and related terms. The asterisk (*) is a wildcard that allows retrieval of variant forms of a word; in the example above, articles containing the words "narcissism," "narcissistic" and "narcissist" will be found. Use quotation marks around groups of words to search them as a phrase. If you know the title or author of an article, enter this information into a search box and specify Title or Author in the adjacent Select a Field box.

Depending on your search topic, you may wish to apply Limiters to narrow the scope of your results. If you only want articles that are available either in full text or in Geisel Library's periodicals collection, checkmark the first set of limiters. However, this may exclude the most relevant articles for your particular topic; even if they are unavailable at Geisel Library, you can easily request them via Interlibrary Loan and they will be emailed to you in about a week.

Screenshot of PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES


Other useful limiters enable you to restrict your results by language, publication date, publication type, and peer-review status. The psychology databases also offer three unique limiters that let you characterize the types of studies you're interested in. As illustrated above, you can limit your search to studies dealing with particular Age Groups (e.g. adolescents or the elderly) and Population Groups (e.g. animals, females), or to studies that employ a specific Methodology such as empirical study, clinical case study, or literature review. To select more than one choice for any of these limiters, hold down the Control key while clicking your choices.

Subject Searching

Because a document's Subject Terms reflect its major points of focus, subject searching often yields more relevant results than keyword searching. There are two different approaches to conducting subject searching in these databases. From the Advanced Search screen, click on the Thesaurus link to search through the list of Subject Terms defined by the APA. To identify the defined Subject Term(s) for a particular concept or topic, type a search word or phrase representing that topic into the Browse box and click Browse. This will display an alphabetical list of Subject Terms near the term you entered. Checkmark any terms of interest and click the Add button to append them to your search, using either the Boolean AND or OR operators to conjoin the subject terms. Finally, click Search to execute the new search.

Screenshot of PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES


The second approach to subject searching takes advantage of the Subject Terms that appear on the left of the search results screen (as shown in the diagram below). Click on any of these terms to narrow your results to items that have been assigned that Subject Term. Alternatively, you can re-do your search by typing one or more of these Subject Terms in the search box at top and toggle the Select a Field box to "SU Subjects."

Viewing and Interpreting Results

By default, results are listed in order of their relevance to your search terms. You can use the Sort by drop-down box in the upper right to re-order the results by date, with the newest items listed first. Also consider clicking Peer Reviewed Journals under the Source Types heading at left, to narrow the results to scholarly journal articles only. To read an item's abstract, either hover your mouse over the magnifying glass icon to the right of its title, or simply click on the title itself. When you find a relevant item, examine the Subject Terms that have been assigned to it. You may want to perform "SU Subject" searches on these terms.

Screenshot of PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES


Obtaining the Citation and Full Text

If there is no direct link to the full text of an article, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available at Geisel Library or in full text via another electronic database. If the WebBridge panel does not offer links to full-text resources or the Library Catalog, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox within about a week.

In the article record view, click on the envelope icon to email yourself a ready-made citation of the document in the bibliographic style of your choosing (APA, MLA, or Chicago style). On the email screen, under the Include when sending heading, click "Citation Format" and select the desired style. To email multiple citations at once, click the Add to Folder link below each desired item in the search results screen, then click on the Folder View on the right side of the screen. At this point, you will have the option of printing or emailing the citations of all the selected items at once. Click the printer icon to print out a nicely-formatted version of an item's citation and abstract.

For further assistance with using these databases, click the Help link at the upper right corner.

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