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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 PsycInfo. This 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.
PsycINFO (1806 - present) PsycINFO is an electronic bibliographic database providing abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences. The database includes material of relevance to psychologists and professionals in related fields such as psychiatry, management, business, education, social science, neuroscience, law, medicine, and social work. Updated weekly, PsycINFO provides access to journal articles, books, chapters, and dissertations.
PsycINFO (2002 - present) PsycINFO is an electronic bibliographic database providing abstracts and citations to the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences. The database includes material of relevance to psychologists and professionals in related fields such as psychiatry, management, business, education, social science, neuroscience, law, medicine, and social work. Updated weekly, PsycINFO provides access to journal articles, books, chapters, and dissertations.
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.
British Education Index The British Education Index provides information on research, policy and practice in education and training in the UK. Strengths include aspects of educational policy and administration, evaluation and assessment, technology and special educational needs. It covers all aspects of education from preschool to higher education. Sources include education and training journals, mostly published in the UK, plus books, reports, series and conference papers. International material as well as Internet documents are included. British Education Index is published with data from 1950.
Child Development & Adolescent Studies This database is today's source for references to the current and historical literature related to growth and development of children through the age of 21. This includes all of the issues of Child Development Abstracts & Bibliography from 1927-2001 previously published by the Society for Research in Child Development, plus new coverage on child rights and welfare issues.
CINAHL Plus Covers nursing and allied health literature from 1982 to the present. Includes abstracts of journal articles, books, dissertations, and proceedings. Full text is included for selected state nursing journals and some newsletters, standards of practice, practice acts, government publications, research instruments and patient education material.
Cochrane Library The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); Cochrane Methodology Register (CMR); Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE); Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA); NHS Economic Evaluation Database (EED).
Education Abstracts Providing indexing and abstracts for more than 680 periodicals, books and yearbooks, this database covers a broad range of subjects pertaining to education and is invaluable for education students, professionals and policy makers. Education Abstracts features content on a wide array of subject areas including adult education, comparative education, government funding, higher education, school administration, teacher evaluation and much more.
EMBASE Ovid database, covering biomedical and extensive amounts of pharmacological research dating back to 1974.
ERIC (subscription version) Provides access to education literature and resources. The database includes information from journals in the Current Index of Journals in Education and Resources in Education Index. Also indexes ERIC documents, which are education materials not published elsewhere, such as curriculum guides, research reports and conference papers.
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) This database includes over two million bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters dating back to 1951. It is unique in its broad coverage of international material and incorporates over 100 languages and countries. Over 2,800 journals are regularly indexed and some 7,000 books are included each year.
Maternity & Infant Care Maternity and Infant Care is an important essential resource for academics and healthcare professionals involved in the care of women and infants. This unique database contains over 120,000 references with abstracts to journal articles from over 550 international English language journals, books, and grey literature relating to pregnancy, labor, birth, postnatal care, and neonatal care and the first year of an infant's life. Database coverage is from the mid-1980s and approximately 1000 records are added to the database per month. The database also includes correspondence and commentary written in response to an article. Many of the records are assigned to one or more of 475 standard searches on key topics in order to provide fast retrieval, using either a code or a browsable index of topics.
Medline ALL Ovid MEDLINE covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care. Information is indexed from approximately 5,400 journals published world-wide.
PTSDpubs Provides citations and abstracts to the international literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health sequelae of traumatic events.
Scopus SCOPUS is the world's largest bibliographic and citation database. It covers nearly 20,000 academic journals from a wide range of subjects and dates from 1996 to the present. SCOPUS will also be the source of the citation data which will be used by some of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment panels. As well as carrying out literature searches, you can set up current awareness alerts, view citation counts, determine your h-index and assess the quality of journal titles. SCOPUS is part of the SciVerse suite of resources which is produced by Elsevier and includes the ScienceDirect electronic journals service.
Sociological Abstracts (1952 - current) This database abstracts and indexes the international literature of sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,800+ serials publications and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers and working papers. Cited references are included for many journal articles.
Web of Science Access to citation databases, journals and conference proceedings with current and retrospective coverage in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Includes Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Conference Proceedings Citation Index and Emerging Sources Citation Index.
Click here to see details of library training courses on searching Psychology databases.