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PsycInfo with a New (inter)Face: Tips for Searching this Premier Psychology Resource

Yes, the first search screen to PsycInfo, the important psychology database, is definitely different from the version Falvey subscribed to last semester. Due to popular demand, we were able to switch vendors from OVID to CSA.

csa_logo_left1The CSA interface is familiar to many on campus who have used databases such as PAIS or Sociological Abstracts. In fact, you can search many of the CSA databases simultaneously, if you wish.

Access PsycInfo through the Databases A-Z list or via the Psychology Subject Guide.

To begin, enter your search terms at the initial search screen and then scroll down to limit your search in many ways, such as language, age ranges and methodology. And, as an extra plus, you can export your marked citations directly to RefWorks, according to the 6th edition of APA style.

Some tips for searching PsycInfo and other CSA databases:
Enter your search terms: Consider entering your terms as keyword rather than anywhere. A keyword search means your terms will be searched in the following fields: TITLE, ABSTRACT, DESCRIPTOR (the controlled subject terms) and IDENTIFIER (terms often supplied by the author).

Glean what works: If you have an on-target citation, look at the Identifier and Descriptor fields for appropriate terms to use as you refine your search.

The Thesaurus, the list of descriptors, can be found by clicking on the tab, Search Tools. The thesaurus for PsycInfo will define some terms and list more specific, broader and related terms. All of these are labeled as Descriptors. Other CSA databases such as ERIC and Sociological Abstracts have different thesauri. A thesaurus can help you find more terms when the words you entered did not pull up enough citations.

Limits: To make your list of citations more pertinent, scroll down on the search page to enable limits: by date; age groups;  language; population studied such as human, animal, male, female, patient; type of document such as peer-reviewed article, book, dissertation; or methodology such as empirical study, experimental-replication, literature review, qualitative or quantitative study.

Search History: Click here to see your previous search statements. These may be combined easily using the OR or AND choices. OR will increase the output and AND will reduce the output.

findit2The FIND IT button in many references may lead you to full-text. If full-text is not available, there is a link to Falvey’s online catalog to determine if Falvey owns the journal. If it is not available in the library, click on ILLIAD, to obtain a copy through Interlibrary Loan. This SFX page has a direct export to RefWorks but you may want to use the link in PsycInfo for transferring citations because more of the record will be exported that way.

RefWorks: PsycInfo and the other CSA databases have a direct export to RefWorks, bringing in the citations according to the 6th edition of the APA style. RefWorks is a Web-based software package designed to help you easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies into papers.

We welcome your questions and comments!

by Jacqueline Mirabile

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Last Modified: September 19, 2009