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SGP Resources

Searching - The Basics

Short Example

This is a sample search of PsycINFO on the OvidSP platform. They use a search example question to illustrate how you can use the elements of a question to build a search with the Subject Headings/Thesaurus. Produced by the APA.

Longer/All things Ovid

30 minute tutorial:

Especially watch the following sections:

9-14     Advanced Searching/Mapping

20        Classification Codes

31-34    Using Limits

NYU Libraries Ovid PsycINFO Tips:





Subject Headings & Classification Codes

Subject Headings

Classification Codes

Every record in PsycINFO receives a classification code, which is used to categorize the document according to the primary subject matter. These classification codes can help you target your search by allowing you to restrict retrieval to a specific category.


Searching Subject Headings Screen Shots (Univ. of Otago)

Searching using subject headings

Enter your search term and click Search. If you wish to search using Subject Headings leave the Map Term to Subject Heading checkbox checked.

Search in PsycInfo via Ovid. "dementia" in search box and "Map Term to Subject Heading" checked.

Search for each subject term separately; this gives you more flexibility later when combining your search terms.

Choosing a subject heading

You are taken to a display of subject headings that best match your search term. Select the heading that is the best match.

Use the Scope information icon to find out the definition and coverage of a heading.

Scope information icons highlighted.

If there is no subject heading to match your search terms you can search by keyword instead.

Before continuing click on your chosen heading.

You will now see your heading along with the broader and narrower (more specific) headings. You will also see Related Terms. This allows you to consider if the heading you are searching on captures all the headings related to your topic.

"Broader Terms", "Narrower Terms" and "Related Terms" highlighted.

You can now decide if you wish to search one subject heading only, or include broader or narrower headings as well.


If you want to include all the narrower headings underneath your subject heading, check the Explode checkbox.

"Explode" checkbox highlighted.


Check the Focus checkbox to retrieve articles when your chosen subject heading reflects the main topic of the article.

"Focus" checkbox highlighted.

Note: You can use both Explode and Focus together.

Link to PsycINFO itself