Skip to Main Content

CPSY 381: Health Psychology (Larson)

Best Health Psychology Databases

Search Techniques

Searching databases for journal articles is a bit more challenging than using tools such as Google Scholar. The good news is that you have a lot more control over how you design your search. This also means you should get better, more targeted results. A search for the question: Does exercise help teenage smokers change their behaviors? could look like this.

APA PsycInfo sample search

You can use an asterisk at the end of a word to retrieve various endings. For example, adolescen* will retrieve adolescent and adolescence.

Other search tips that are useful in searching APA PsycInfo, APA PsycArticles, and APA PsycBooks:

  • Age Groups: Some age groups (e.g., teens) are easy to define in a search, but the age groups feature will be a life saver for other groups (e.g., middle age).
  • Methodology: The most useful choices are:
    • Empirical Study - reports the results of original research
    • Literature Review - see if someone has already examined your topic. This can save time and also provide guidance on how to write a literature review.
  • Thesaurus: If you are not sure about what terms to use, the APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms is very helpful.

If the full-text of an article is not available in the database, click on the Find It @ SCU Libraries link to see if it's available elsewhere. If not, you can request the article via Interlibrary Loan. This is a free service and you will usually get the article in 1-2 business days. Never pay a publisher for an article!