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Database Search Tips

This guide will help get you started in some of our most popular databases! Happy searching! Let us know if we can help.


PsycInfo is the American Psychological Association's resource for peer-reviewed behavioral science and mental health abstracts, chapters, and dissertations dating back as far as the 1600s, with journal coverage dating from the 1800s to present. It offers specific subject headings (similar to PubMed MeSH) in the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms.

Most useful for:

  • Behavioral, social, and psychological sciences research questions

Getting Started

APA PyscInfo Tutorials provided by Ebscohost

Basic Searching Instructions

Search using APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms

1. To find a relevant Psychological Index Term for your search term, check the box beside Suggest Subject Terms.

2. Enter your first concept in the search box. Click Search.

3. From the list, find the term(s) that is/are most relevant to your concept.

4. Click on the underlined term to view its broader and narrower headings and to view the scope note for the term or any related terms.

5. Check the box to the left of the Index Term you want to include in your search. To include a term’s narrower headings, make sure the box in the Explode column (to the right of the Index Term) is checked.

6. Click the "add" button above the term list. If using more than one related term, be sure add to the search using OR.

7. Once the term(s) are added to the search box, click the green search button.

8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each concept in your question/topic. Then combine each of your search sets. (See Combining Search Terms below for more information).

Combining your Search terms

OR will find references with any of the search terms. Use OR to broaden your search.

AND will find references with all the search terms. Use AND to narrow your search.

Searching with Keywords

1. Enter words or phrases that describe your topic in the search box. Put each unique concept in a separate box.

2. Combine keywords using AND or OR from the drop-down beside the search boxes.

3. Click Search.

Search History (Combining search results)

Click on the Search History link (under the search boxes) to display your searches or search sets. Check the box beside each set you wish to include in the search. Then click on the Search with AND or Search with OR button. (Note: Before combining sets, make sure the search boxes above the search history are clear!)

Working with Results

Limiting/Refining your Combined Search Results

Common limits include English Language, Publication Date, Peer Reviewed, Age Groups, and Publication Types. Click on Show More to see all limit options.

Limiting to Research Article retrieves reports of studies or systematic reviews. Peer Reviewed will limit to articles in peer reviewed journals.


Two useful filters unique to PsycInfo are Tests and Measures and Classification codes.


Note: Once limiting options are set, they are applied to subsequent searches unless changed or removed.






Steps to Find Full-Text Articles

If you are unable to find full-text articles using the links below, you will need to order it via InterLibrary Loan (Step #3).

Before making a request for full-text articles through Interlibrary Loan (ILL), please try steps #1 and #2 to search for the full-text. This allows our service to focus on articles that are not available for free nor via our Duke subscriptions. Our Interlibrary Loan service is no charge to Duke borrowers for all article requests. If there are copyright or other fees associated with your article request, we will contact you.

  1. Find the article citation in a database: If you aren't already in a database, go back to PubMed or other database such as CINAHL, Embase, or Web of Science to look up the article. Why? Because our Get it @ Duke button will fill out the ILL form for you with all the article information – this saves you time and ensures greater citation accuracy.
  2. Click the GetIt@Duke button: Once you locate the article in a citation database, click the Get It @ Duke link.
  3. Select second button to request as Med Center User: From the page that says “We don't have this online — see below for other ways to get it” click the green button that says “Request – Med Center users.”
  4. Log on with your DHE / NetID username and password: This will take you to the ILL form. The article information will be filled into the form automatically. Scroll to the bottom, verify accuracy, and click submit.

If you can't find the citation in a database or you don't see a GetIt@Duke button, you can place a request manually through our interlibrary loan service. Follow the steps below.

Questions about Interlibrary Loan? All interlibrary loan questions should go to Louis Wiethe, Document Delivery & Interlibrary Loan Manager, 919.660.1179 or

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