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PsycINFO Database--What It Is and How to Search It : Searching PsycINFO--Basic Search

This Guide gives tips for searching the PsycINFO database, published by the American Psychological Association.

PsycINFO--Basic Search

For additional help, click on the HELP button on the search screen in the PsycINFO database.

Basic Search

  • In the first box, type the word or phrase you wish to find.  (See screen shot below.)
  • You may combine terms using the Boolean (logical) operators: AND, OR, NOT
  • Parentheses may be used to group terms.

          Examples:       assessment OR evaluation                   assessment AND surveys

                                   (assessment OR evaluation) AND surveys

  • You can use the truncation symbol, the asterisk *,to find plurals and all variations of a word.  Example: dream* retrieves dream, dreams, dreamy, dreamland, etc.


  •  The wildcard symbol, the question mark ?, should be used within words. To use the wildcard, enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?.  PsycINFO finds all citations of that word with the ? replaced by a letter. Example: ne?t will find neat, nest, or next.  It will not find net because the wildcard replaces a single character.


  • Searches are NOT case sensitive.  You can type your term(s) in upper case, lower case, or a combination of the two.


  • Use double quotes to search for phrases.  The words within the quotes must be found right next to each other and in the order in which you typed them.

The number of results you retrieved will appear at the top of the results list.

The results of your search will appear in a list ranked by relevance, but you can change how the results are listed by clicking on the down arrow next to Relevance and changing the way results are listed. 


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