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PsycINFO Database: General Search Tips

Use this libguide to learn about the popular database for Psychology, PsycINFO.

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Search Tips

PsycINFO offers many ways to limit or to expand a search.

To illustrate these capabilities, let's search for articles about the mental health of homeless adults.

STEP ONE: Access PsycINFO as described on this libguide's initial tab and enter in a search for "homeless" in the first box and "mental health" in the second box. Because we only want scholarly articles, tick the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box, but do not press the Search button just yet.

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STEP TWO: PsycINFO provides a wide breadth of facets that will assist you in narrowing your search results. Because we want articles relating to adults, we will select "Adulthood (18 yrs & older)" from the drop-down menu for "Age Groups." We also want empirical studies, so we will select this from the drop-down menu for "Methodology." Let's also say that we are comfortable reading articles in both English and French: two options from the same box can be selected by holding the Ctrl key (PCs) or the Cmd key (Macs) and clicking on both of them. Now either scroll up or down to perform this search with these facets selected.

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STEP THREE: After clicking search, we find that there are nearly 2,000 results that match our parameters! We should limit this search further by only retrieving articles from the last 15 years. "Filter by Publication Date" is found on the left side of a search results screen, and you can adjust the dates with the scroll or type the year in the box:

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STEP FOUR: We still have too many results to peruse plausibly in one sitting. Some results may briefly mention the mental health of homeless adults, so let's use the "Subject: Major Heading" facet to restrict our results to only those studies where both mental health and the homeless are major subject headings catalogued within PsycINFO. 

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STEP FIVE: That narrows it down to just 103 scholarly articles about homeless adults' mental health published within the last 15 years. You can see the restrictions you have placed on your original search as listed in the "Current Search" box on the left-hand side of the page, and if you so choose, you could remove one of these limitations at any time. Start browsing the results, and good luck on your research!