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Library Research Guides

PSYCH 303: Research Methods in Psychology

Tools and techniques for finding information for Psychology 303, taught in Winter 2018 by Prof. Colleen Seifert

Search for Journal Articles in Library Databases

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All about PsycINFO

PsycINFO contains more than three million citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations in the field of psychology.

It's a great place to find the articles for your Psych 303 assignments.

Watch the videos on this page for help getting started with searching, and see the bottom of the page for additional tips.

PsycINFO: Selecting and entering your search terms

Tips for selecting search terms:

  • Try several synonyms, connected with OR, to find the maximum number of articles on your topic.  Each concept gets its own line.  Use quotes around phrases.

  • Find an article you like, and note its subject headings or descriptors.  You can run a new search using these terms or phrases for more robust results.
  • If you have a term with several possible endings, use an asterisk to stand for the different endings. (Example: child* = child, children, childhood, etc.)
  • If you are getting too many results, try searching for your terms in the Title, TI=,  Abstract, AB=, or Descriptors, DE= fields instead of the default.

PsycINFO: Focusing your search

PsycINFO allows you to place limits before you search, and "filters" after you have your results.  The most useful ones include:

  • Language: select a language from the dropdown, or simply check the box for English.
  • Age group: specify the age group that you need to have included in the study.  The articles you get might include other age groups as well, but this will help you filter out articles that don't deal with your population of interest.

  • Methodology: limit to Empirical Study to only get that type of article. Or, limit to Literature Review if that's what you want.  Very helpful!

  • You can also limit by year of publication, and you can view a list of journals or subject terms in the results set. 

PsycINFO: Using methodology criteria to identify article type

The PsycINFO database records the Methodology for each article indexed in the database. You can use this criteria to limit your search to a particular article type, or to verify the type of article you have found.

There are several ways to do this:

1. When setting up your search, use the Advanced Search - Search Options

  • Scroll down to the Search Options
  • Limit your results by Methodology (bottom right corner)
  • Empirical Study and Literature Review are both options

screenshot of Methodology limit box


2. After running a search, use the Refine Results facet 

  • Refine Results are on the left-hand side of the page
  • Scroll down to the Methodology header and click it
  • Check the box for the methodology type
  • Your results will automatically update
  • Note that you may see no options for empirical studies or literature reviews if there are none if your list of search results

screenshot of methodology facet


3. When looking at the detailed record for an article

  • Scroll down to see all of the indexing details
  • Methodology will be listed