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Course & Subject Guides

Research Methods in Psychology - Oakland Campus

A guide to using PsycINFO, Google Scholar, and other psychology resources for PSY 0037.


PsycINFO is a department of the American Psychological Association (APA) and is the optimal resource for locating psychological literature.  Psychologically relevant documents from a wide range of disciplines are indexed in PsycINFO, making for unrivaled depth of coverage for all areas of psychology, the behavioral sciences, and related disciplines.  Scope extends to fields such as psychiatry, education, business, computer science, medicine and health sciences, law, linguistics, and social work.  Sources include scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, books and chapters of books, technical reports, and dissertations. Most records contain a summary and all are indexed according to the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms.

PsycINFO let's you easil conduct complete research in the field of psychology resources from 1806-last month!

Starting Your Search

Keyword Searching:

Start at the Advanced Search screen, and search the keywords and phrases you generated from your topic sentence.

  • Use quotation marks for searching phrases: Ex: “clinical depression”
  • Combine search terms using AND to reduce and refine your results: Ex: “clinical depression” AND adolescent AND treatment
  • Watch for disciplinary terms or language, and use them as search terms: Ex: teenager = adolescent

Too many results?

  • Combine terms using AND to reduce and refine your results

Too few results?

  • Expand your results by either removing a search term
  • Use the wildcard * to find all variations of a word:  For example, adolescen* will find adolescent, adolescents, adolescence

Limiting results to scholarly articles, books, or dissertations

  • Under Search Options use Record Type in the Advanced Search feature to limit search results to just books, chapter (chapters of books) or journal articles.
  • Read the Citation: Citations for each type of source are subtly different. Learn to recognize what the source is by the differences in the citation.
    • Book chapter citations will start with the chapter info first, then the word IN, then the book editor and title. Books will not list any volume or issue information.
      • Author(s). (publication year). Chapter Title. In Editors(s). Book Title. (pages). Publication Info.
    • Journal Articles will include volume and issue information.
      • Author(s). (publication year). Article Title.  Journal Title. Volume (issue). Pages.

Search Results

Pay attention to the type of resource, book, article, chapter, etc. They will all have different levels of access (full-text or citation) and may need further searching in PittCat to locate the source.

  • For a book result, use PittCat to search our collections. Go to the PittCat guide for tips. (DO NOT use the check article availability link.)
  • For a journal result, click the Check Article Availability link. This will search for the full-text of the article. If it is not found easily, you can use the Journals Search link to search for the title of the journal.  Once you find the journal and date range you are looking for you will then select the year, issue, volume, and title of the article and save appropriately.
  • If you cannot find the journal or journal article you are looking for, you can request a copy of the journal article from another library through Interlibrary Loan.