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PsycINFO through PsycNET Interface

Basic Information and Getting Started with Topic Searching

What is it?

PsycINFO is an abstract database that provides systematic coverage of the psychological literature from the 1800s to the present. It contains citations, abstracts, cited references, and descriptive information to help you find what you need across a wide variety of scholarly publications in the behavioral and social sciences.

Several thousand journals are indexed for inclusion in this database. Of the content included, 99% of citations are from peer-reviewed journals. 10-15% of the content included is from books and dissertations.

Accessing this resource

  1. Start at the Hardin Library Homepage and navigate to the Health Sciences Resources A-Z list: and select PsycINFO.
  2. If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to enter your hawk id and password.
  3. Once you have entered the resource, select the PsycINFO box.

Performing a basic topic search

  1. In advanced search (the default search mode), enter in your key words and consider using fields. The abstract field was used here.
  2. Also consider options of adding rows if you have additional terms. Also consider the limits below the search boxes. It is usually a good idea to look at your search results before adding limits.
  3. If you are looking for results that contain a specific phrase in the exact order, it may be useful to put quotation marks around your phrase. Ex: “cognitive processing therapy”

Performing a topic search by concept (or subject)

This resource has a comprehensive vocabulary which organizes the content of it by subject. It is worth learning how to do this, if you need your searches to be thorough.

After you select the term finder tab…

  1. Enter your concept. You may have to try a few synonyms if a match is not identified.
  2. Select go.
  3. Select the box adjacent to term you would like to view.
  4. View the scope note to learn more about the concept (definition, history). Consider exploding by selecting the + sign (circled below); this will include narrower concepts. The term below was exploded.
  5. Select add to search, which will combine all selected terms with an OR by default.
  6. After you add the terms, you will see them appear in the search box. The drop down box will indicate that you are searching Index Terms, or by concept. Then select search.
  7. Results will appear at the top of the page.
  8. If you have additional concepts to search, repeat this process and combine your searches together. Go to term finder and enter in your next term. Before adding to search, the clear all link needs to be selected.
  9. In order to combine both searches together, go to the link Recent Searches.
  10. Then, select both and combine with AND, in order to retrieve citations with both of these concepts in common.

Reviewing and managing results

  1. View abstracts on the right side. Also, select on the infolink button for full text options.
  2. Consider narrowing your search with limits on the left side, if necessary.
  3. Decide what to do with your results. Direct export to RefWorks is available, as well as options for print, save and email.
  4. If you would like to save your search, create a link to your search, or create a list (My List), you will need to create an account. This is called MyPsycNET.

We can provide guidance customized to your topic, in person, over the phone, or by email. Please contact the reference desk at 319-335-9151 OR

Or connect with the librarian assigned to your subject area: – Use this link to access PsycNET