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Psychology: Bibliographic databases

Library support for the School of Psychology

Introduction - what are bibliographic databases?

Bibliographic databases (often just referred to as 'databases')  allow you to search across a wide range of journals and this is the best way to find relevant academic information on your topic. The bibliographic databases relevant to Psychology are listed below.

These databases contain references and abstracts and will link you to the full text of the article where QUB has a subscription to the e-journal. NB you will not get the full text for every article you find in a database, but you can apply for the article on Inter Library Loan if it is not available via QUB.

Constructing a search strategy

Before you start searching the databases, you will need to construct a search strategy: 

  • Break your search topic into key concepts
  • For each concept, think of keywords and synonyms
  • Connect similar keywords using the OR command
  • Combine different concepts using the AND command 
  • Use brackets to group OR terms together

eg (teenager OR adolescent OR adolescence) AND (autism OR autistic spectrum disorder OR asperger's syndrome OR pervasive developmental disorder)

For a more detailed description of search techniques, please see separate page on Designing a search strategy.

Key bibliographic database relevant to Psychology - PsycInfo

The key bibliographic database relevant to Psychology is PsycInfoThis is the best database to start with when you are doing your literature search in Psychology. 

Tip: Before you search PsycInfo, have a look at the Searching PsycInfo page. PsycInfo is set up slightly differently from the other databases because it uses Subject Headings. Although it may look a little confusing at first, it is worth learning how to use it properly because it will improve the accuracy of your search results. 

Databases A-Z

The full range of databases available at QUB can be found in the Databases A-Z list, but note that this list will contain journal and e-book databases as well as bibliographic databases; bibliographic databases such as the ones listed above are the best way to conduct a comprehensive literature review.

Top Tip - Reference lists and Citation searching

If you find a relevant article, an easy way to find other articles on the same topic is to look at the Reference list/Bibliography. Most databases also have a Citation search feature which means you can link to other articles that have referred to your original paper. 

Keeping up to date

The ZETOC service will email you the tables of contents of new journal issues as they are published. It covers a wide range of subjects and you can select multiple journals.

You can also set up email alerts within bibliographic databases to find out what new articles are being published in your area of interest; check out the Help screens in each database for instructions of how to do this. 

Other bibliographic databases relevant to Psychology

Some of the other bibliographic databases that are relevant to Psychology are listed below. They will not all be relevant to all aspects of Psychology but you can hover over the Information icons to find out if they cover your area of interest. 

It is worth looking at Scopus and/or Web of Science, no matter which aspect of Psychology you are interested in as these are both large multidisciplinary databases that cover all subject areas.

Library training

Click here to see details of library training courses on searching Psychology databases.