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PsycINFO Search Tips: Tips & Tricks

About PsycINFO

PsycINFO, from the American Psychological Association, has many powerful features and searches almost 4,000,000 records. It covers all areas of psychology and the behavioral sciences, and includes many interdisciplinary areas as well. Examples of useful features include the ability to restrict by age and methodology, and to use Boolean operators.

Combining Terms, OR and AND

Combine terms using OR and AND (Boolean Operators) for a more focused search.  OR for synonyms, AND to add two concepts.

  • teenager OR adolescent
  • adolescent AND anorexia
  • (teenager OR adolescent) AND (anorexia OR bulimia)

Boolean Operators

What Those Weird Symbols Mean

Wildcards (truncation) and phrases

Sometimes you want all forms of the word -- teenager, teenagers, teenaged. Rather than combining with OR, you can use the *.

The asterisk (*) is a powerful feature that can stand in for any number of letters after the root. So anorex* will retrieve anorexia, anorexic, anorexics, etc.

If you want to search on an exact phrase, you can enter it in quotation marks ("anorexia nervosa")


Finding the right term can be tricky, the Thesaurus of Psychological Terms brings together related concepts, and can help to retrieve the most relevant articles.Brief screencast on using the thesaurus.

Quick and Dirty Citation

Find Research Based on Certain Methods

Just a sample... there are more!

Limits, Filters, etc.

A very powerful feature of PsycINFO is the ability to restrict your search by the following:

  • Date published
  • Language
  • Age of subject population (from infants to very old)
  • Methodology of research
  • Population (human or animal, male/female, inpatient/outpatient)
  • Geographic location.

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