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APA PsycInfo (Ovid) - Tutorial: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Tips on using PsycINFO, including using the subject headings, narrowing/expanding your search, finding case studies, how to save your searches

Links & Guides

Step-by-Step: Tip

NOTE: NEVER use your browser’s “Back” button when inside OVID. Instead, click the “Search” button at the top left-hand side of the page to return to the search screen.

Step 1: Separate your topic into different facets

**NOTE: Search one term at a time: enter the term into the search box and click Search.

For example: if your topic is:
Effective treatment for eating disorders

Search for "eating disorders" and then for "treatment".

Step 2: Find terms - The Subject Heading Map

This next page is super helpful! It maps your term to a subject heading so you can find all the terms on a topic, not just a specific word.

Usually, it is most effective to click on one hyperlinked Subject Heading to go into the Thesaurus.

Sometimes, you might choose to select the term as keyword by selecting the last option, that is not hyperlinked, and then click “Continue”. You will then return to the starting search page.

Or, you might just check the boxes next to any and all relevant Subject Headings and click “Continue” to add them to your search.  You will then return to the starting search page. This will not allow you to see the thesaurus, however.

Step 3: Find related subject headings - The Thesaurus

The Thesaurus displays related terms that are more general and more specific to the selected Subject Heading. In the Thesaurus you can click the box next to any terms you would like to add to your search and then click “Continue”. You will then return to the starting search page.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 with all additional keywords

Step 5: Combine Searches (AND vs. OR)

Searches within OVID do not automatically combine. To do so, select the search terms you would like to combine by selecting the box next to it in the Search History area at the top of page. Then combine with “AND” or “OR”. Results of the combined search will automatically display under the Search area.

For a review of how to effectively use And/Or, visit the help guide below:

APA PsycInfo video tutorial

Why use PsycINFO?

As a product of APA, PsycInfo is indexed by subject experts at APA.

The interface for PsycINFO is OvidSP:
Seems tricky at first, but....

  • Thesaurus helps you find more precise subject terms
  • Combine different searches - comprehensive searching

When to use PsycINFO

PsycINFO primarily has articles relating to clinical psychology.

It also includes related disciplines, but has fewer articles on these other topics:

Medicine, Law, Social Work, Neuroscience, Business, Nursing, Forensics, Engineering


This guide was created by Frances Brady for Adler University.