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Searching PsycINFO

Before You Begin

Developing Your Search

Doing Your Search

Finding Results at Lovejoy Library and Beyond

Before You Begin

What's in PsycINFO?

PsycINFO is a database of references or citations to journal articles, book chapters, books, technical reports, and dissertations in the discipline of psychology. Journal article citations range from 1887 to the present, while book and chapter citations range from 1987-present. This database is not full text.

How do I get into PsycINFO?

Go to the Lovejoy Library Online Information page here
Go to Journal and Newspaper Databases, then to Education, then to PsycINFO.

Developing Your Search

When searching for articles in psychology, you might be tempted to turn to this database, plug in your search terms, and take the first likely-looking article you run across. However, that is neither a thoughtful nor a critical way to do research.

First things first ...

You have a research question of some sort. Write that down on paper. For example, "I want to find out if personality affects how people respond to stress." Break that question into major concepts, in this case, personality and stress.

Doing your search

PsycINFO uses a Controlled Vocabulary (subject headings) to index their articles. Type your first term in the Keyword box. It will automatically take you to the nearest subject heading. If you click on the hot blue term, it will reveal related terms (i.e "personality traits" under "personality"). You can mark as many of these as you want. Click on the Continue button on the top of the page. The number of hits will appear in a box followed by a Display button. Click on Display to see your citations.

Repeat this procedure for each one of your main concepts. Note: If you have an unusual term (hip hop music, Warren Buffett, etc.) click off the Map to Subject Heading button above the Keyword box.

Combining and Limiting Searches

Each time you search, the number of hits will be shown in a box at the top of the screen. After you have searched for several concepts, you can combine these searches. Simply go to the top of the page and click on the Combine logo. Mark the searches that you want to combine and click on Continue.

You can further limit your search by clicking on the Limit button at the top of the page. You can limit your search by publication date, population groups, language, and many other categories. Limiting a search to peer-reviewed journals is available through the Special Features function on this page.

Finding Results at Lovejoy Library and Beyond

Marking and printing records

As you scroll through the list of citations and abstracts click on the box next to each record that looks promising. When you're done, click on Return to Main Menu Search Page. The citations you have selected will automatically be collected in a set. Click on Display to see the list in a brief bibliographic format. Click on the Print icon to print this list. If you would like to print the citations with abstracts, go to the bottom of the page and click on Display underneath Citation Manager.

Finding articles

After you have a list of citations, you'll want to find out which journals are in Lovejoy Library and whether they're in print or microfiche. CHekc the date of publication in the citation. Go to the Library Catalogs page at Click on the Library Holdings link under the citation. If the Library carries the publication, be sure to check the dates of coverage.

Full text online

Lovejoy Library subscribes to a number of databases that include some full text journal articles. You can search these databases with a single effort. Go to the Journal and Newspapers Databases page at

Type in the journal title in the search box at the bottom. A grid will appear with the full text coverage dates on the right side. Check the dates of your citations against the full text coverage dates. Click on the hot blue link and type in the journal title. Open up the Keyword box and click on source. Enter the author's name in the second box and click on author.

What if the journal I need isn't in the library or available online?

You can request a copy of the article you need from another library. An online form for this request is available here

Paper request forms are also available in the library. Average turn around time for an Interlibrary Loan request is 10 days to 2 weeks.

If you have questions or comments about this research guide, please contact Matt Paris, Education Librarian, Lovejoy Library, at or at 618-650-2906.

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