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Searching PsycInfo


Searching can be difficult when there are multiple words or phrases that describe similar concepts. Fortunately, PsycInfo uses the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, which provides a standardized list of concepts and terminology (i.e., index terms). APA staff assign relevant terms to each article in PsycInfo.

By using the Thesaurus feature in PsycInfo, you can search or browse for index terms; view terms that are broader, narrower, or related to a concept; and use them to conduct focused searches.

The following video offers for a more detailed explanation of what index terms are and examples of how they are used, and the text tutorial illustrates how to use them through UW-Green Bay Libraries.

Video Tutorial

This video from APA explains the concept of index terms and how you can use them effectively in your searching. Although the screenshots do not match UW-Green Bay's version of PsycInfo, the concepts and strategies are the same.

Text Tutorial

To find and use index terms in PsycInfo:

  1. Click on APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms on the top of the page.
  2. Type a word or short phrase and click Browse. Look through the results. You may find more relevant results if you select either the Term Contains or Relevancy Ranked search options.
  3. Once you found the term that matches what you are looking for, click on the term to view its definition, history, and related terms.
  4. When you have found a term you want to use, click on the checkbox to the left of a term, and then click Add. You also have the option to "Explode" the term, which will add all of the narrower terms to your search.
  5. As you can see, once the terms are added, they appear in your search bar. You can now add additional index terms or conduct your search of the database by clicking the green Search button.

Tip: Multiple Subject Terms

If you select multiple subject terms to search, choose whether you want to combine them with OR, AND or NOT.

  • OR will search for articles that have at least one of the terms (but not necessarily all of them)
  • AND will search for articles that have all of the terms
  • NOT will search for articles that have the first term but do not have any subsequent term