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PsycINFO Database - How to Search It

Information about PsycINFO with links to tutorials

PsycINFO--Basic Search

Basic Search

  • In the first box, type your search word or phrase. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 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. 

Basic Search

Database Search Tips

1. Start by identifying the major concepts, themes, works, or authors that you want to research. These are your keywords. Only type your keywords into the search box -- don't type in an entire thesis statement or research question. 

2. Most of the time, you'll either have too many search results to sort through, or too few to choose from. Use the following tips to expand or limit your search results as needed. These tips should work in most library databases. Some databases have additional or different tips you can try. When you're in a database, look for a link labeled "Help" or "Search Help" for information specific to that database.

Too many results or a lot of irrelevant sources? Try this:
Add additional keywords - (ex: college AND stress AND academics)
Choose more specific search terms - (ex: hiking AND DeLand instead of hiking AND central Florida)
Search for a phrase - Add quotation marks around a phrase to search for the words in that order (ex: "south africa" instead of south africa)
Use search filters ­- limit by source type, date of publication, language, subject, & more
Choose a different database - select a database with a narrower scope of subject matter
Search by subject - search for your terms as a subject instead of as a keyword
Exclude words from your search results  - ( NOT “time travel”)

Didn't get enough search results? Try this:

Use different keywords - choosing the right keywords is key. Try experimenting with different words. (ex: Movie OR cinema OR film OR motion picture)
Related topic try looking for sources on a broader, related topic (ex: hiking AND central Florida instead of hiking AND DeLand)
Use fewer search terms - begin with 1 or 2 search terms that best represent your topic, then add more as needed. Avoid long phrases.
Use fewer search filters avoid using any filters that are unnecessary
Choose a different database select a database with a broader scope of subject matter
Use wildcard & truncation symbols *#? - Allows you to search for multiple spellings of a term
When you’ve found one source, try this:
Use subject headings - does the database list any subject headings to your source? Click on these links to find more.
Look at the works cited list - browse your source’s reference list or bibliography to find additional sources on the same topic
Who’s cited this? - use Google Scholar or Web of Science to find sources that have cited your source since it was published
Search for the author's name - has the same author published additional material on the topic?

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email Call or text 386-747-9028.