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Professional Writing in Psychology (21:830:360:01): Searching PsycINFO for articles

A detailed introduction to using PsycINFO for literature reviews

Searching PsycINFO

        PsycINFO is the index to scholarly literature which has been developed by the American Psychological Association.  Records begin with items published in 1872 and continue to the present.  The contents of more than 2,000 journals in multiple languages are included.  All journal titles are considered scholarly and most articles report on research.  Other material types such as books, chapters in books and dissertations are also indexed by the database.  PsycINFO is updated weekly.

                  APA quick guide        (handout)

Two tutorials from APA on searching PsycINFO on Ovid follow.  The first describes the searching process and the second emphasizes the importance of using the Thesaurus, a list of APA approved controlled vocabulary terms.  Using subject headings from the Thesaurus will assure you that you have retrieved all relevant sources.  It will also save you time in finding relevant articles among the search results.

Finding three peer-reviewed articles in PsycINFO


How (and why) to use the APA Thesaurus


Updating an older article with citation searching

          Citation searching offers you the opportunity to update the content of an article by discovering articles by authors who have cited the article in the bibliographies of their own publications.  The assumption is that the later articles discuss the same or closely related ideas to those in the article you have.  While you update the content of the article, you are also finding out how much influence your original article has had on research in the field.

          PsycINFO on Ovid offers indirect citation searching.  When you identify an appropriate article during a search, the citation display will include a link on the right to “Find citing articles.”   When you click on the link, you'll see a list of the newer citations.  Working with these references is different than the ciations you found through your search.  You can get to fulltext using the  Check for Full Text from LinkSource button although you won't be able to select them by marking for emailing or exporting.

         Web of Science, including Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index, is a comprehensive resource for citation searching.  It has traditionally been considered the most authoritative database for citation searching and currently provides access to citations from 10,000 scholarly journals.  The database offered by the University Libraries dates from 1984 to the present.  (The date refers to the publication date for the citing articles rather than the cited works.)   

           Scopus, another citation and abstract database offered by the University Libraries, includes the journal literature in the sciences, technology and the social sciences from 1823 to the present although cited reference searching begin with 1996 to the present.  Updated daily, Scopus covers the content of over 20,000 journal titles. 



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