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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. 

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
  • Use database search features such as phrase searching and truncation, where appropriate (See Database keyword search operators quick guide for further details) 

eg (teen* OR adolescen*) AND (autis* OR asperger* OR "pervasive developmental disorder")

For a more detailed description of how to construct a comprehensive search strategy, see Planning your 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. To search PsycInfo effectively, you should include relevant Subject Headings in addition to keywords. 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. 

Access here: PsycInfo 1806 to present

Other bibliographic databases relevant to Psychology

Although PsycInfo is the main bibliographic database for Psychology, there are other databases that may be relevant for your research. 

Keeping up to date

You can 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. 

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. 

Subject librarian support for literature searching

Please be assured that your Subject Librarian will support you as best they can. 

Subject Librarians are able to show QUB students and staff undertaking any type of literature search (e.g. literature review, scoping review, systematic review) how to:

  • Structure searches using AND/OR
  • Select appropriate databases
  • Search selected databases
  • Save and re-run searches
  • Export database results
  • Store and deduplicate results using EndNote
  • Identify grey literature (if required)

At peak periods of demand, Subject Librarians might not be able to deliver all of the above. Please contact Psychology Subject Librarian Carol Dunlop at to check availability.

QUB students and staff must provide Subject Librarians with a clear search topic or question, along with a selection of appropriate keywords and synonyms. Students should discuss these with their supervisor before contacting Subject Librarians.

Subject Librarians are unable to do the following for QUB students and staff:

  • Check review protocols
  • Peer review, or approve, search strategies        
  • Create search strategies from scratch
  • Search databases or grey literature sources
  • Deduplicate results
  • Screen results
  • Demonstrate systematic review tools (e.g. Covidence, Rayyan)
  • Create PRISMA flowcharts or similar documentation