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PsycINFO: Searchable Fields

This guide will help you naviagte through the database PsycINFO.


With the wide variety of concepts and vocabulary used in the psychological literature, search and retrieval of records about specific concepts is virtually impossible without the controlled vocabulary of a thesaurus. This controlled vocabulary provides a way of structuring the subject matter in a way that is consistent among users (e.g., searching for Dysphoria, Melancholia, and Depression can all be achieved by searching the term "Major Depression").

By standardizing the words or phrases used to represent concepts, you don't need to try and figure out all the ways different authors could refer to the same concept. Each record in APA's databases contains controlled vocabulary terms from the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®.

APA staff index records according to the source document's level of specificity. For example, an experimental population labeled "high school students" will be indexed with the term "High School Students", not the broader and less specific term "Students". Therefore, any relevant narrower terms should be included in the list of index terms in your search. Related terms may also closely match a search topic, and should be considered as well.

  • Includes more than 8,200 standard and cross-referenced terms.
  • New terms are mapped back to all relevant records in APA's databases spanning all years.
  • Scope notes define the terms.
  • Historical notes include information about the historical usage of terms since their introduction.
  • Term hierarchies show the relationship to other terms.
  • The year indicates when the term was added to the Thesaurus.

The thesaurus allows you to find subject terms to narrow or broaden your search and is available from the Advanced and Command Line Search. If you want to run a search on a subject, but you do not know what term to use, use the thesaurus to search the controlled vocabulary. A hierarchical display is available and will give suggestions on the appropriate subject terms to add to your search.

To use the thesaurus, select the Thesaurus link from the Advanced or Command Line, then browse or search for subjects containing the word or beginning with the word. Mark the items that you would like to search and then select the appropriate Boolean operator to combine your items. Click the Add to search button and your terms will be placed into the search form. From there, run your search to include the subject terms (adding additional search fields and terms if needed).

Look Ups and Browsable Indexes

PsycINFO offers five Look ups or browsable indexes, so you can easily find spelling or format variations of, for example, an author's name or a journal title. You can find the Look up links in the advanced search page and they are available for the following searchable fields: author, publication, subject, location and test & measure. For a description of these fields, please see the searchable fields table to the right. 

Note: Look ups are also available from the Command Line search (through the Look up terms link). Several of the searchable fields from Look Up Citation search form also offer Look up links.

To use and locate a Look up or browsable index, select the field from the advanced search pull-down menu. If a Look up is available, under the search row you will see a link to the Look up. Other Look ups and browsable indexes will be listed in the Limit To section of the advanced search page.

Select the Look up link and then you will see a browsable and alphabetical index for that field. There are some indexes that will not display an alphabetical list before searching for the term, rather you will have to enter a term first, and then the alphabetical list of matches will display.

Once you locate the index term that you would like to add to your search, mark the item, and then click the Add to search button. The index term will now appear in the advanced search form along with the appropriate pull-down menu selection.

Searchable Fields

 Field Name


Search Examples & Explanation



AB(child welfare worker)

Summary of the article.

Virtually 100% of records from 1995 to present have abstracts.
99.6% of non-dissertation documents added from 1967 to present contain abstracts.

Accession Number



Search the unique PsycINFO ID for articles and documents.

Age Group



Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

  • Childhood (birth-12 years)
  • Neonatal (birth-1 month)
  • Infancy (2-23 months)
  • Preschool Age (2-5 years)
  • School Age (6-12 years)
  • Adolescence (13-17 years)
  • Adulthood (18 years & older)
  • Young Adulthood (18-29 years)
  • Thirties (30-39 years)
  • Middle Age (40-64 years)
  • Aged (65 years & older)
  • Very Old (85 years & older)

Use to retrieve articles focusing on a specific age group.

All Fields


ALL(body image)

ALL searches for keywords in the citation and abstract.  As PsycINFO is an abstracting and Indexing database, there is no full text to be searched.



AU(niessen cornelia)

Use to find documents written by a particular author. Try searching on both the full first name and initials in order to retrieve all publications by a specific author.

Author Affiliation



Use to retrieve documents associated to a particular institution.
It is always best to avoid typing the word university as it could have been spelt: uni, univ, université, Universidad etc. Use the truncation instead uni*.



CL(neuropsychology &  neurology)

22 Major categories and 135 subcategories
Each record is assigned to one or two classifications.
The full scheme can be found at Classification Categories and Codes. Both the numerical code or the actual classification can be searched.



CF(American Psychological Association)

Use to search the title of a conference.

Contact Individual



Use to search the name and address for corresponding author.

Corporate Author


CA("Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry")

Use to retrieve articles published by a Corporate Author. It contains the name of the organization that has produced the original source document. This field is often present when there is no personal author field. Use the distinctive parts of the name when searching this field and do not search for designations such Corp, Co, Company, Ltd. etc.

Digital Object Identifiers



Search for documents with DOIs using the DOI search.

Dissertation Number



Selected from ProQuest Dissertation Abstracts International (A and B).
Dissertation records make 12% of PsycINFO. Abstracts for the dissertation records are available starting from 1995.

Document Title



TI(Antidepressant drugs during pregnancy)

Locates the occurrence of search words in the title of the article.

Email Address



Use to search the email address of contact author.

Format Covered



Use to find which format is covered in PsycINFO.



GI(“National Institutes of Health”)

Use to find articles supported by a specific funding institute.  

Identifiers (keyword)



Use to find key concepts and/or brief phrases describing document's content. This is uncontrolled vocabulary.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)



This search field looks for the 12 and 13 digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN), where available. Hyphens are optional.

International Standard Serials Number (ISSN)



This search field looks for the eight digit International Standard Serials Number (ISSN), where available. Hyphens are optional.




Available as a limit in Advanced Search.
Use to locate the original language of the document. All abstracts are written in English. Non-English titles which are published in Roman alphabets are displayed and searchable in both the native language and the English translation.
The following languages are indexed in PsycINFO:
  • Afrikaans
  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Farsi
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Iranian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Slovak
  • Slovene
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian

Last Revision Date



Format is yyyymmdd, best searched with truncation. The above example will retrieve all records with a Last revision date during the course of 2012.




Search for a specific country the study concentrates on.

Major Subject


MJSUB(Mental Disorders)

Use to search top level subjects from the APA thesaurus. There is more information about the thesaurus on the left hand side.



ME(systematic review)

Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

Use to limit your search to a specific methodology from the following list:

  • Brain Imaging
  • Clinical Case Study
  • Empirical Study
  • Experimental Replication
  • Field Study
  • Focus Group
  • Followup Study
  • Interview
  • Literature Review
  • Longitudinal Study
  • Mathematical Model
  • Meta Analysis
  • Nonclinical Case Study
  • Prospective Study
  • Qualitative Study
  • Quantitative Study
  • Retrospective Study
  • Scientific Simulation
  • Systematic Review
  • Treatment Outcome/Clinical Trial
  • Twin Study
Monograph Title MTI

MTI(Motives in children's development: Cultural-historical approaches)

The Monograph title field is also searched when searching the Publication Title PUB field.

Used to retrieve monographs indexed in PsycINFO.




Notes field will search any of the following APA fields: Supplemental Material, Notes, Supplemental DOI, Auxiliary Material, and Physical Description and display the results in the appropriate field.

Other Journal Title


OJ(Psychiatria Clinica)

Use to retrieve variations of the serial title name, resulting from serial title changes occurring in the past or future as compared to the date the item was published.




Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

Contains a standardized description of specific populations related to the content of the document. Alternatively, use the Limits and select one or more of the following:

  • Human
  • Animal
  • Male
  • Female
  • Inpatient
  • Outpatient

Publication Year



Use to search documents from a specific year or years. Remember to use an OR operator when searching for more than one year.
Alternatively use the Date range under the Search options.

Publication Title



PUB(Decision Support Systems)

Use to search by a specific publication or publications. Alternatively use the look up facility to select specific titles.



PB(national academy of sciences)

Use to retrieve article from a specific publisher.

Record Type


Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

These limits are not mutually exclusive. A record can be an editorial in a journal which is a peer reviewed journal.

  • Abstract Collection
  • Authored Book
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter
  • Classic Book
  • Column/Opinion
  • Comment/Reply
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Abstract
  • Edited Book
  • Editorial
  • Electronic Collection
  • Encyclopedia
  • Encyclopedia Entry
  • Erratum/Correction
  • Handbook/Manual
  • Journal Article
  • Journal: Peer Reviewed Journal
  • Letter
  • Non-Peer-Reviewed Journal
  • Obituary
  • Peer-Reviewed-Status-Unknown
  • Poetry
  • Publication Information
  • Reference Book
  • Reprint
  • Review-Book
  • Review-Media
  • Review-Software & Other
  • Textbook/Study Guide



REF(Barnett NEAR 2010)

Use the reference search field to look for the data in a cited reference. It will search all of the main components of a cited reference (cited author, cited document title, cited publication date, and cited publication title). Remember to use the NEAR operator when combining different elements of a cited reference.

Since 2001, the records in PsycINFO® have included cited references appearing in journal articles, books, and book chapters. Although comprehensive coverage of cited references began in 2001, references appear in some records for earlier years, and APA will continue to add retrospective coverage. For more information click here.

Reviewed Work


RV(“working with aging families”)

Contains information of a reviewed item in the PsycINFO record. This field may contain the reviewed item's author(s), title, source, publication year, and more.

Series Title


SR(Oxford library of psychology)

Use to retrieve books from a series.

Subject Heading(All)


SU(mental health)

This field will search terms from the APA thesaurus including Major Subject (MJSUB) and Identifiers (IF) the latter being uncontrolled vocabulary.   For more information about the APA thesaurus, see the section on the left hand side.

Supplemental Data


Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

The Supplemental Data field contains supplemental data or other information found either appended to the print source or available on the Internet. May appear for all publication types. Some supplemental data values may be appended with "Available" or "Internet Available." Data types include the following:

  • 3-D Modeling Images
  • Appendixes
  • Audio
  • Computer Software
  • Data Sets
  • DVD/CD
  • Experimental Materials
  • Tables and Figures
  • Text
  • Web Sites
  • Video
  • Workbook/Study Guide
  • Other

Table of Contents



The Table of Contents field  contains the chapter title, chapter author(s), and chapter pagination within a book or encyclopedia record. Chapters listed in the Table of Contents which are also separately indexed in the PsycINFO database will have the chapter title hyperlinked to that individual chapter record. To go to an individual chapter record, simply click on the hyperlinked title. The Table of Contents appears only with Book, Authored Book, Edited Book and Encyclopedia publication types.




Use to search for Tags attached to articles. This field is user generated and only searches Tags that were made public by ProQuest users.

Target Audience



Available as a limit in Advanced Search.

Target Audience identifies the intended audience of the document. This field is relevant only to books, chapters, encyclopedias, and encyclopedia entries. To search a particular audience, enter the unique word(s), The values include the following:

  • General Public
  • Juvenile
  • Psychology: Professional & Research

Test and Measure


TM(Wechsler intelligence scale for children).

The Tests and Measures field contains the names of both published and unpublished tests and measures used in the source document. This field may contain multiple tests or measures. To search for a record containing a particular test or measure, enter the test or measure name.