Clinical Social Work: PsycINFO


Tips for Keyword Searching

Construct your search using the keywords and/or phrases relevant to your topic. 

  • Use OR to search both keywords/phrases
  • Quotation marks can be used to search for phrases (e.g. "infant development")
  • Truncation searches for variants of a word. Use an asterik (*) at the root (e.g. play* searches for play, plays, playing, player, etc.)
  • AND combines the search components to find results with both components in the record

psyc info advanced search


Keyword searching is beneficial particularly when there is a new area of research that has not been assigned a subject heading yet. For example, research on "microaggressions" is fairly new, and the APA has not yet established the term as a formal subject in the database.

Find it @ PSU

Our article databases are enabled with a Find It @ PSU green button which connects you from the database you are searching to the holdings of specific articles in our Library.

If the article citation in your search results does not include a link to the full text PDF file, use the green Find It @ PSU button to check online or print availability via the Library catalog.

If the PSU Library does not hold the article online, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan & Article Delivery.

Find it at P S U link


full text link in library catalog

About PsycINFO

Using Limits

Use limits to filter results for specific aspects of the resource such as particular age groups, research methodology, or publication type. These selections help you quickly narrow down results to items most relevant for you (and your assignment!). 

screenshot of limit for peer-reviewed journal in PsycINFO


screenshot of age group limit in PsycINFO

Explode and Major Heading


"Explode" means that you are searching for a particular subject heading and all the narrower subject headings underneath it. For example, if you search:

  • Social Interaction [Explode]

You are also searching its narrower terms:

  • Encouragement
  • Interpersonal Interaction
  • Nonviolence
  • Peace
  • Physical Contact
  • Teasing
  • Victimization

Major Heading

Most citations in PsycINFO are assigned 5-7 subject headings. 2 or 3 of those subject headings are likely to be designated as the primary focus of the article. Selecting "Major" means you will only retrieve those articles that have that subject heading designated as major. While this option can be useful occasionally, often it will limit your search too much and you will have very few articles to select.