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PSYCH 130: Risk factors and treatments for mental illness: more on PsycINFO

Why use PsycINFO?

PsycINFO, from the American Psychological Association, has many powerful features and searches almost 4 million records. It covers all areas of psychology and the behavioral sciences, and includes many interdisciplinary areas as well. Among the other reasons to search PsycINFO:

  • authoritative coverage (curated and indexed by the professional APA indexers)
  • up-to-date (updated weekly)
  • comprehensive (articles, books, dissertations)
  • detailed indexing (search by language, population, methodology, author affiliation and more)
    • including controlled indexing terms

How and why to use the thesaurus (video)


Search Tips

  • Exact phrase search: use quotation marks (" "): "trauma exposure"
  • Truncation: * replaces any number of characters and finds all versions of word roots: therap* (retrieves therapy, therapies, therapist, etc.)
  • Wildcard: ? replaces one character: femini?ation (retrieves records containg feminization or feminisation)
  • Broaden a search with OR: teenager OR adolescent (finds records containing either teenager OR adolesent)
  • Narrow a search with AND: boys AND anorexia (finds records containing both of these words)
    • AND is implied in most search unless you use quotation marks: boys AND anorexia is the same as boys anorexia
    • entering search terms in different search boxes in Advanced Search defaults to AND

Searchable fields

Take advantage of limits and filters in PsycINFO to limit your search results. Among the limits and filters available are:

  • Language
  • Age group (Childhood, School Age, Aged, etc.)
  • Population (Female, Male, Animal, etc.)
  • Methodology
    • Brain Imaging
    • Empirical Study
    • Longitudinal Study
    • Meta Analysis
    • Qualitative Study
    • Quantitative Study
    • Twin Study
    • etc.


Use the thesaurus to find subject terms to narrow or broaden your search. The Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms contains controlled vocabulary and provides a way of structuring the subject matter in a way that is consistent. By standardizing the words or phrases used to represent concepts, you don't need to try and figure out all the ways different authors could refer to the same concept. Each record contains controlled vocabulary terms from the thesaurus.

Results page tips

When you enter a search you will retrieve a results page. Some features to look out for on the results page:

  • Modify: click this to make changes to your current search strategy. Or make changes to your search in the search box.
  • Search within: Use this to run a search within the current results. Add additional keywords and ProQuest will look for the keywords within the current search results.
  • Email or print any marked records in your search results.
  • Cite: generates a bibliographic citation in a number of different styles available from the pull-down menu. Copy and paste the citations into a document and make necessary edits.
  • Export: use with bibliographic software like Zotero or Refworks.
  • Narrow results by: apply additional limits (also known as filters or facets) to refine your results such as peer reviewed, source type (scholarly journal, report, book, etc.), language, and date.
  • Sort results by: Sort by relevance, date (newest first).