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I Can PsycINFO (And So Can You!): Searching Strategies

This research guide will assist students locate relevant articles on their topic using the EBSCOhost PsycINFO Database & will focus on searching strategies using keywords as well as how to locate controlled language using the Thesaurus.

Searching Secret Menu...Are You Ready?

This searching secret menu contains the little tricks to searching, similar to the In-n-Out secret menu, that make searching THAT much better.

Wildcard (? or #) -

used to replace letters within words. 

To search "woman" and "women" TYPE "wom?n"

To search "color" and "colour" TYPE "colo#r" 

Truncation (*) -

used to replace letters at the ends of words.

Enter the root of the term and replace its ending with *

Example: child* results in children, childish, childhood.

Parentheses () -

used to control a search query.

(attachment behavior AND adolescents) OR (attachment behavior AND children)

What does this mean?

Without parentheses, a search is executed from left to right, but words enclosed within them are searched first.

Why is this important?

Parentheses allow you to control and define the way you search your terms.

Quotation Marks ("") -

used to search the exact phrase.

To search attachment behavior as a phrase, type "attachment behavior"





Advanced Search? Go For It!

Once you have chosen the PsycINFO database, the screen will open to the ‘Advanced Search’ page.  This is the default search for the EBSCOhost Research Databases. 


The Advanced Search presents three search fields as well as numerous search limitation options (All Text, Title, Author, Subject, etc.) for searching.  If no limitation is chosen, a keyword search is conducted.

Boolean....Say What?

Don't let the term 'Boolean' intimidate you. 

Boolean/Phrase Operators are AND, OR, and NOT operators and are used to either narrow or broaden your search results.  Easy Breezy.  On the 'Advanced Search' page, they're found in between each keyword field.


'AND'  - used to NARROW a search or to make it more SPECIFIC

Search results contain only the items that include BOTH search terms.



'OR' - used to BROADEN a search to complete a concept by including SYNONYMS or variant terms for the same concept. 

Search results are INCLUSIVE because they contain items that include search term A or search term B or both search terms A and B.


'NOT' - used to NARROW a search through EXCLUSION

Search results contain items that include search term A but not search term B.


Subject Guide

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Scott Zimmer

Special Limiters

Sometimes you'll need more than the searching secret menu to find relevant results. 

Special Limiters are available!  These are located beneath the "Search Options" section on the PsycINFO Advanced Search page. 

Here are some notes on the special limiters our patrons have found the most useful:

Linked Full TextPlease don't check this box! This only searches for items available in full text from EBSCO. We have many resources available from other vendors and individual publishers and you will be missing out.

Journal/Magazine Title: Searches for items within a specified journal or magazine.

Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed Journals): Only searches for items within scholarly journal publications.  These articles are peer-reviewed and do not include books, dissertations, or reviews.

Age Groups: Allows you to specify the age group used in the study.

Population Group: Choose from values: ‘All;’ ‘Human;’ ‘Animal;’ ‘Male;’ ‘Female;’ ‘Inpatient;’ and ‘Outpatient.’

Document Type: Search a specific type of document; values range from ‘Abstract Collection’ to ‘Chapter’ to ‘Journal Article’ and ‘Reviews.’

Methodology: Search for articles using a specific methodology.  For instance, you can search solely for literature reviews or for empirical studies.