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PSY 321 Research Methods - McCulloch: PsycINFO vs. Google Scholar

Where to Search

Scope

The search scope of Google Scholar and PsycINFO are very different. 

Google Scholar searches across resources from all disciplines/subject areas:

  • journals publisher websites
  • professional association websites
  • university websites
  • Google Books

PsycINFO searches a defined set of resources, all focused in the field of psychology

  • almost 2500 journals (99% peer reviewed)
  • book chapters
  • dissertations

Features

Google Scholar and PsycINFO search in very different ways and have different features. 

Google Scholar PsycINFO
Searches the full text of the article for keywords Searches keyword in title, abstract, and other record fields
No subject headings    Can use subject headings to search
Publication date limit  Publication date limit
No limits for research methodology, study population age group Many limits available, including methodology and age group 
Results ranked by combination of times cited and Google algorithm Results ranked by publication date (newest first)

Demonstration of Scope Difference

PsycINFO

PsycINFO identifies the citing articles within its scope (the journals it indexes). Within PsycINFO, this article has been cited 223 times since 2001. 

Citation entry in PsycINFO 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar's scope is larger, therefore it can identify that an article has been cited more times across a larger body of literature or types of sources (such as books and reports). Google Scholar reports this article has been cited 344 times since 2001. 

Citation of article in Google Scholar