Open ASU Library Home Page in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.

Why Complete the PsycINFO Tutorial?

Learning PsycINFO will help you succeed in courses that require you to find empirical/primary research articles for research papers and other projects.

At the end of the tutorial you will be able to:

  • identify at least two types of material found through PsycINFO
  • define "empirical/primary research" and "peer reviewed" articles.
  • locate PsycINFO through the ASU Libraries home page
  • brainstorm keywords using search results
  • combine keywords using AND and OR connectors in the Advanced search box
  • apply limits to improve search results including...
    • peer reviewed, 
    • date, 
    • methodology, 
    • age group,
    • gender, and
    • population.
  • get full text articles
  • request articles that are not full text at ASU.

Use Right Arrow to continue. 

About PsycINFO

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psycinfo logo

is the primary library research database for finding scholarly journal articles and other material including books published in the field of psychology.

Your professors want you to tap into the conversations that scholars have about their research. In psychology, that means you need to find articles that have been peer reviewed  and report on empirical/primary research. 

Hint! Click on bold and underlined words for definitions.

scholarly communication


About PsycINFO

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Let's open PsycINFO and discover more about it!

Here's how...

ASU Libraries Homepage 

  • Click View All Research Databases link centered beneath the search box 
  • click P
  • click on PsycINFO  

MyASU Option:

  • Open the MyASU Library Icon] myasu library icon  
  • Click on All Research Databases



Now that PsycINFO is open, click on ABOUT to answer these questions.

How many journals, books, book chapters, etc. are indexed by PsycINFO?

The sources indexed by PsycINFO include journal articles, books, book chapters, reports, and _______________ ? 

Read the 'Examples of Use' list on the PsycINFO about page. Which of the following would not be good topic to search in PsycINFO?

About PsycINFO


You will need to return to the Advanced search box several times as you progress through this tutorial.

Here's how... either option works!

Option 1: Click Modify Search


Option 2: Click Advanced Search



Review this research question to identify keywords, then answer the question below.

Does gaming improve student learning? 

What are the most important keywords in the research question?

About PsycINFO

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B. Find More Keywords

Enter a quick keyword search using learning and gaming in PsycINFO's advanced search box to find additional keywords. 

Like this...  

psycinfo advanced search


Scroll through the first few items to pick up new keywords. Click PREVIEW to view titles, abstracts and subject terms then answer the question below.

Based on your review of the search results, which keywords could also be used for 'gaming?'

Power up Your Search with Search Connectors

Congratulations! You just used the search connector AND to enter the keywords learning and gaming! Be sure to look at the definition for 'search connector!'

AND is a powerful search connector because it finds articles that include both keywords. AND is used to narrow results and increase the relevance of searches.

Now, let's use the OR search connector to broaden the search by adding the phrase computer games with gaming. This search will find results about learning AND gaming OR video games.

Enter the sample search below see what happens when you use OR to expand your search. Then answer the question below. 


 Using OR in search


True or False. When you conducted the the search learning AND gaming OR computer games you found over 1500 search results.

Notice the Narrow Results by panel on the right under the category SOURCE TYPE. About how many of the results are from SCHOLARLY JOURNALS?

Refine Searches by Limiting/Narrowing Search Results: Peer Reviewed, Publication Date, Research Method, Age and Gender

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Many professors will want you to find research articles that are peer reviewed. They may also want the articles you use to be written within a specific time frame.

Limiting for Peer Reviewed and a Specific Date

A. Work With Your Search Results 

This is the search in case you lose it. 


AND gaming

OR computer games

B. Limit to Peer Reviewed 

1. Click on the check box  just below search box

peer reviewed check box

2. Filter by Publication Date (left sided menu)

use the 'slide' to narrow search to 2010 - present

3. Click Update 

Answer the question at the bottom of this page. 

How many items did you find based on a search of learning AND gaming OR computer games when the results are narrowed to PEER REVIEWED items with a PUBLICATION DATE of 2010 - present?

Refine Searches by Limiting/Narrowing Search Results: Peer Reviewed, Publication Date, Research Method, Age and Gender

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Filter results for Empirical/Primary Research articles

When your professor expects you to use articles describing the results of research conducted by the author, use the METHODOLOGY option in Narrow results by menu.

The categories Empirical study and Quantitative study are commonly used in psychology. Limit the search to find an 'empirical study.'

Now, click on Clear All Filters at the top of the left side menue. 

Now, filter your results by Peer Reviewed and Methodology (empirical study).

filter by Peer Reviewed - click the peer reviewed check box

filter by Empirical/Primary - choose Methodology, then empirical study 

How many results did you get?

Refine Searches by Limiting/Narrowing Search Results: Peer Reviewed, Publication Date, Research Method, Age and Gender

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Filter for Independent Variables such as Age or Gender

Clear all filters again!

This time...

Filter for Peer Reviewed 

Filter for the Age Groupschool age 

How many results did you find for learning AND gaming OR computer games when you limited by peer reviewed articles covering school age children?

WITHOUT clearing previous limits...

also limit to Populationfemales

How many items result from this search when you also limit to females?

Getting Full Text of Your Articles

1 of 31. Use the PDF link when you see it.

A. When you see a PDF link, that usually means the article is available in PsycINFO.

Click the item below to open a live example of an article record. 

sample article

B. Click the link that says "Full text available at: Academic Search Premier".

Now, click on the "Full text - PDF" link to review the whole article. Answer the question below.

Look through the article. How is this empirical research article organized? 

Getting Full Text of Your Articles

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2. Get It @ ASU (when the article is available online at ASU but outside of PsycINFO)

Don't see Full Text PDF? Click the Get It button  find articles in other electronic resources held at ASU Libraries.

Click the item below to view a live example in the window to the right. [WARNING... IF Get It  and Get Article links in next few steps open in a new tab then click on your Guide on the Side: PsycINFO tab to return to the tutorial.]

article example owned by asu




Answer the following questions.

Review the article panel. Click on "Full text available at: ScienceDirect Journals". A record for the journal Computers in Human Behavior will appear. This is another way of determining if a journal is peer review (refereed). Do you find a referee symbol indicating that this is a peer reviewed journal?

Review the panel. In what library resource was this article located?

Review the article.

True or False. This article includes sections typical of an empirical research article?


Getting Full Text of Your Articles

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3. Get It @ ASU (when the article is not available online at ASU)

Click the box below to open a live example.

article not available at asu

This article is NOT online at ASU so you will need to click the GETIT@ASU button to find the 'Request through InterLibrary Loan' link for ordering the article via our Illiad service. (The first time you will need to set up an account.)

The article will be delivered to your ILLIAD account at no cost to you.



For further information on how to Get It @ ASU or use the ILLIAD service, use our Interlibrary Loan Library Guide.



Congratulations! You have completed the PsycINFO tutorial. 

If you would like to earn the PsycINFO certificate link here. PsycINFO Certificate Quiz Link 

To take a quiz without the certificate, continue below. 

True or False? PsycINFO can be found through the Databases search tab on the Libraries home page or throught the MyASU Library Icon.

PsycINFO enables you to find the following types of resources except...

True or False? Empirical/Primary Research articles are ALWAYS peer reviewed.

You need to complete a search on the influence of pets on mental health. Which of the following searches would be a good beginning strategy? 

When you review search results for a journal article in PsycINFO, which of the following parts will help most in determining if the article in an empirical study?

Which of the following statements about search connectors is correct?

Conduct a search on social networking AND bullying in PsycINFO. Limit the results to peer reviewed items published 2013 - present. How many results did you find?

If you wanted to limit your search results to articles that discuss males only, which search option would you use?

True or False? The ILLIAD (interlibrary loan) service enables me to request articles that are not available online at ASU.