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Experimental Psychology: Getting Started

Research Databases

PsychInfo

Searching library databases like PsycInfo is different than searching Google. The main difference is that Google searches the Internet and databases search database records like the one pictured below. It is easy to retrieve an article when you have the author, name of the article, or source. However, when you're looking for articles about a topic that you don't know much about, then you will want to search differently. Common search fields are author, title, publisher, etc. These are highlighted in yellow. When you're exploring and refining a research topic, you will want to search the fields highlighted in pink. What is convenient about library databases is that subject terms are often standardized so that articles about the same subject are given the same subject terms. In the past, this was done by a human being who actually read the article and indexed the article under a specific term. Now it is done by computers. These terms are not perfect, and they are different from database to database. But you will want to know how to search these terms because it will save you a lot time and frustration. In summary, when you search library databases you are searching structured information, unlike Google which searches unstructured information, so your search strategy should be different. 

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