Searching PsycINFO

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What is PsycINFO?

PsychINFO is a robust database that contains full-text articles as well as citations and abstracts to articles in journals, dissertations, and book chapters in all areas of psychology.


To get started, click the PsycINFO link on the web page.

You are now in PsycINFO.

Keyword Search

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For this activity, you will be answering this question:

How effective is meditation as a tool to manage work stress? 


Your Turn:

  • Use the main search box to enter stress AND work AND meditation
  • Don't forget the ANDs because PsychINFO defaults to Boolean Searching.
  • Click Search

Keyword Search

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How many results did you get?


That's not a bad number, but are all your results relevant?

Take a few minutes to skim your results.

Keyword Search

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Locate the article titled "Utilization of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce test anxiety in high stakes testing"

Hover over the magnifying glass and read the abstract.


Ask yourself: Does this article seem related to the question on the impact of meditation on work stress?


Not exactly. You'll notice that many of the results are not related to our initial question.

Thesaurus Search

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Let's try a different type of search that will get you more relevant results.

PsychINFO tags every record with a term from the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®. 


Click Thesaurus at the top of the screen


Thesaurus Search

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You are looking for information that can help you answer this question:

Which types of drugs are most effective in treating teenagers diagnosed with clinical depression?

Your Turn:

  • Search the thesaurus for depression
  • Click Browse


Thesaurus Search

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The thesaurus does not include the term "depression." What two terms does the thesaurus use for "depression"?


Thesaurus Search

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Major Depression is what we want to use.

Your Turn:

  • Click the link for major depression
  • Click major depression again


Note the scope note and history of this term along with the narrower and related terms

Is this the correct term for articles on clinical depression?


Thesaurus Search

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Once we have the correct term, there are a number of things we can do with it.

Your Turn:

  • Check the box next to Major depression
  • Also check the boxes under Explode and Major Concept

By checking Explode you will include more terms in your search.

By checking Major Concept, you will locate records where the term is a major point of the paper. 

Thesaurus Search

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                     One more step!

 Change the OR to AND.  Then click Add.

Look at your main search box. Which additional terms were automatically added to it?

Thesaurus Search

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Next, let's find a good term to use for the other part of our research question, drugs.

Your Turn:

  • Search the thesaurus for drugs
  • Click on the Drugs link
  • Since we are only interested in depression and drugs, click the link for Antidepressant Drugs

Thesaurus Search

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There are many types of antidepressant drugs and we may want to research them all.

  • Check the Explode box to include it in your search.
  • Remember: Click ADD. Make sure it is set to AND.


Thesaurus Search

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Now click Search next to the main search box.


Skim your results. To get more information on them, hover on the magnifying glass


That brought us back almost 10,000 results. Too many results, and too many irrelevant results!

Let's narrow these down some.

Refine Results

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Remember we are looking for research articles that deal with teenagers, so let's focus on that.

Another way to get more precise results is to use some of the limiters in the Refine Results menu on the left.

Refine for the following:

  • Limit to: Scholarly (Peer Reviewed)
  • Publication Date: 1998 - today
  • Age: adolescence (13-17 yrs)

That brings us back around 300 results, but let's keep refining them.

Refine Results

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PsycINFO allows you to search for articles by the methodology used in the research study including different types of Empirical Research

  • Under Methodology, check Empirical Study

Now take a look at your results.

These articles are now more narrowed to our research question and only include empirical studies.

Useful Tools

  • Click on the article titled "Risk factors for depressive symptoms in adolescent pregnancy in a late-teen subsample"

There are a number of helpful tools you can use including emailing the record, printing, it and saving it.

  • Click the Cite tool

This tool gives you the citation for different citation style formats such as APA.

Cited References

Another great tool is the Cited References link, located on the left-side menu.

  • Click Cited References.

PsycINFO lists all of the sources this article cited and if available, a link to the record.


Tests & Measures

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PsycINFO allows you to search for the names of tests and measures included in a research study.

Let's say you are interested in finding out which tests are used to screen for Attention Deficit Disorder.

Your Turn:

  • Click New Search


  • Enter Attention Deficit Disorder in the search box
  • Change the field you are searching to DE (Subjects) exact


Tests & Measures

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  • Using the main Search Options menu in the middle of your screen,
  • Scroll down and locate the Classification Codes box
  • Select 2224 Clinical Psychological Testing


  • Click Search

Tests & Measures

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Let's see which tests are used.

Your Turn:

  • Click on the article "Clinical use of the Pediatric Attention Disorders Diagnostic Screener for Children at risk..."
  • Scroll down and locate the Tests & Measures field

What is the name of the first test used or discussed in this study?


Tests & Measures

4 of 8You can also browse for tests by using the indexes. This works best when you know the name of the test.

Your Turn:

  • Hover on the More link at the top
  • Click Indexes

  • In the Browse an Index drop down menu, select Tests & Measures

  • In the search box, search for Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scale
  • Click Browse

Tests & Measures

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Displayed are all the tests that include this name

The Records Count Column indicates how many records in the database include this test.

  • Click the box next to any of the tests
  • Click Add to add this test to your search
  • Click Search

Displayed are all the articles that discuss this test.

Tests & Measures

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PsycINFO can also help you find articles that include sample test items. These are reported in the record as "Appended"

Your Turn:

  • Click New Search
  • Enter stress in the search box
  • Change the field you are searching to DE (Subjects) exact
  • Using the Search Options menu, scroll and locate the Tests & Measures box
  • Enter Appended
  • Click Search


Tests & Measures

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  • Click on the article "Gender minority stress, mental health, and relationship quality..."
  • Scroll down to the Tests & Measures field

Note that this article includes questions from the Relationship Stigma Scale test

  • Scroll down until you see the sample test items

Tests & Measures

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What is the first question on this sample test?



All Done!

You have completed this introductory tutorial to PsycINFO

Feel free to explore PsycINFO and learn more about how it can help you in your research.

To leave us feedback on this tutorial, go on to the next page.