PsycINFO Help Guide

PsycINFO indexes bibliographic citations and abstracts for all areas of psychology, including experimental and developmental, communications, social processes and issues, personality, physical and psychological disorders, professional issues, applied psyc

Database Information: PsycINFO

Searching PsycINFO

Searching PsycINFO

  • Add search terms to the search box one at a time
  • Try to use a subject heading to describe your concept
  • Use the Boolean operator OR to combine "like" terms
  • Use the Boolean operator AND to include all terms
  • Apply Limits (such as age group, publication year, language) after combining sets with AND
  • Search example:  using two subject headings (Cognitive Development AND Autism) and using limits


PsycINFO search terms with limits

Exporting Results From PsycINFO

Browse and Print/Email/Export Citation Results

  • Scroll down the page to see the last set of results (shaded in gray)
  • Use the check-box to mark citations to email, print, or send to your preferred citation manager (use Print icon, Email icon or Export icon at top of results display)

PsycINFO managing results


  • Use the Find It box to see if you can access the full-text of the article from our library subscriptions
  • Click on the Abstract Reference link to read the abstract
  • Click on the Complete Reference link to see more bibliographic information about the citation

screenshot of a portion of an APA PsycInfo; there are two links with blue text, listed vertically. The first reads "Abstract Reference," and the second reads "Complete Reference." Below that is a maroon button with gold text; the button also has the UMN "M" logo, and the text reads "Find It"





Saving Results/Personal Account in PsycINFO

Saving Searches in PsycINFO

  • To save a search strategy in PsycINFO you must creat an account in the interface (Ovid SP).
  • Scroll to the top of the page and click on the My Account link
  • On the Personal Account login page, login or create a new personal account:

PsycINFO Personal Account


  • Fill in the form (asterisk denotes require field). Click Create
  • You now have a new personal account in Ovid and are logged in. Return to your search by clicking the Search tab

PsycINFO search tab


  • Click on the Save Search History button (lower right side of search box)
  • Name your search and click the Save button

PsycINFO save search


PsycINFO name search


 Your search is now saved. To retrieve the search:

  • Return to PsycINFO and login to the Ovid system
  • Return to the main page in PsycINFO by clicking on the Search tab
  • Click on the View Saved button to find and retrieve your search

Auto Alerts in PsycINFO

Ovid E-Mail Update Service

Ovid databases may be set up to send regular, free updates of searches to an email address. Updates are sent each time the database is updated, ranging from weekly to monthly.

To set up an AutoAlert search:

  • Create your search strategy.  Remember to break your search into concepts. After each concept, click on Search.
  • Combine terms with OR or AND. Using OR will retrieve records with any of the listed terms (broadens your search). Using AND will deliver records that have all of the terms (narrows your search).

Ovid Medline Auto Alert Save


The final line of the search will be the only results that will be emailed.  When your search strategy is complete, click "save search history," and log into your personal Ovid account.  Use "create a new personal account" if you have not yet set one up.

Name your search (diabetes obesity exercise) and choose "Auto Alert (SDI)"

Ovid Medline Choose Auto Alert Name


Below the search name box, you have a menu of autoalert options.

Ovid Medline Auto Alert Options

  • Scheduling Options: Decide on how often you wish to receive the updates.  "On database update" is the most common selection.
  • Delivery Options: Leave on "email," unless you'd like the results delivered directly into the "My Projects" section of your personal Ovid account.
  • Recipient's Email Address: Your default email address based on your login is provided. If you wish the AutoAlert to go to another email, you can change it here.  To send to more than one email address, separate the addresses with a comma (no spaces).
  • Email Subject: use a subject line that will be meaningful to you.
  • Email Options include having the search embedded in your email message, or as an attachment. You can also choose html or plain text.
  • Report Type: decide what format works best for you.  "Email includes records only" is the most common choice.

Ovid Medline Auto Alert Options 2

  • Fields: Choose whether abstracts, subject headings, etc. should be sent with the citations.
  • Result Format: Ovid format is the most readable, and can be imported directly into your preferred citation manager.
  • Sort: References may be sorted by author, date, source (journal) or publication type.

When finished click on Save. New citations that meet the search criteria will be emailed each time the database is updated according to the schedule you have determined.

To revise an autoalert, click on "view saved" on the main search page.

Ovid Medline View Saved Search

Use the editing icons to change the search, view the AutoAlert history, display the details of the search history or create an email jumpstart. You can use the “Copy” button to create a copy of the selected search, then use the editing buttons to modify. You can delete any saved search using the “Delete” button.

Ovid Medline Edit Saved Search


 Ovid Auto Alert Service Discontinuation Instructions

  • Login with your Ovid username and password
  • Under My Workspace, click on My Searches & Alerts and then click on AutoAlert (SDI) Searches and locate the alert you want to stop


Ovid Medline My Workspace

  • If you want to delete the alert entirely, check the box beside it and click the delete button.

Ovid Medline Copy Delete Search

  • If you want to suspend the alert (stop getting notifications, but still keep the alert strategy saved in case you want it again later) click the pencil icon above the alert title. On the next page, check the "suspend" box and click save. If you want to reinstate it in the future, you can do the same thing and uncheck the suspend box
  • Now log out. Your AutoAlert should be discontinued


PsycINFO Tutorials


PsycInfo on Ovid (15:31 min) : This class highlights the unique structure of this database and includes a detailed review of specific limits, fields and search tips for this resource.

Using PsycINFO (U Libraries). (2020 December 23): 7?49 min

Using the Methodology Limiter in APA PsycInfo on Ovid (APA). (2022 April 21): 5:02 min.

Beyond Subject Searching in APA PsycInfo (APA). (2022 April 21): 45:54 min. Conducted by APA training staff, this 45-minute session builds upon your use of basic search strategies for APA PsycInfo and includes a search demonstration on each of the 4 search platforms (APA PsycNet, EBSCOhost, Ovid, ProQuest). Learn how to find institutions where research on your topic is happening; discover prospective journals for publishing research; explore grants and sponsors that have funded related research; search for information about tests and measures used in the literature; and expand your research expertise with background information about APA PsycInfo search fields and database record structure.

Last Updated: Jul 31, 2023 3:00 PM