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Psychology: Searching PsycInfo

Library support for the School of Psychology

What is PsycInfo?

PsycInfo is the main bibliographic Database for the Psychology, Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health. It has comprehensive coverage, containing more than 3.4 million records and including references to peer-reviewed journals, books and dissertations. Journal records make up 80% of the database, with nearly 2,500 journals covered. The database is updated weekly, ensuring current research is included.

PsycInfo at Queen's University Belfast is provided through the Ovid platform: PsycInfo (1806-present)

PsycInfo is set up slightly differently from other databases because of the 'Map Term to Subject Heading' feature - see section below on Understanding Subject Headings.

Understanding Subject Headings

Using the default Map Term to Subject Heading  feature in PsycInfo (see above) will make it easier for you to find relevant journal articles.

Subject Headings are the indexed terms that are used in the database. By selecting the relevant Subject Heading, you will not have to think of all the synonyms and alternative spellings of the topic you are searching for eg if you select the Subject Heading 'cognitive behavior therapy', it will retrieve any article which is about that subject, whether the author has called it 'CBT', 'cognitive behaviour therapy' or 'cognitive behavior therapy'.

When you are using the 'Map Term to Subject Heading' feature, you must split your research question into separate keywords and search for them one at a time. Take some time to work out your search terms before you enter keywords into the search box.

For example, if you wanted to find journal articles on using cognitive behaviour therapy to treat anorexia, your main keywords are: cognitive behaviour therapy and anorexia

There are 3 steps to conducting this search in PsycInfo:

  1. Search for cognitive behaviour therapy
  2. Search for anorexia
  3. Combine 1 and 2  

See Step-by-step guide to searching PsycInfo for screenshots of this search.

Confused? Don't worry, just get in touch and I'll be happy to run through it with you! Email me at