This video will demonstrate how to use advanced searching techniques, including searching by subject and using a database thesaurus, for the database PsycINFO.

Searching PsycINFO using Subjects transcript:

In the library’s catalog, we found a book, Harnessing the Power of Equine Assisted Counseling, that focuses on horses assisting with therapy situations. We are looking for additional research on this topic, where animals, specifically horses (a type of equine) assist or help facilitate with therapy in the context of counseling, family therapy, mental health, or psychotherapy. Based on the book’s description, there seems to be a lot of word variations connected with the topic.

We’ll start the search in PsycINFO with one of the phrases we saw in the book record, “equine assisted counseling” and use the quote marks around the phrase to tell the database to search for all those words next to each other.

Click the Search button. We get some good results but surely there are more published items on this topic? Maybe our search phrase is too specific or doesn’t match the other ways authors are writing about the topic? Let’s look through the results for clues on other ways to search – we’ll preview a few of the records to look at their lists of subjects. Subjects are standardized terms chosen by experts so all the items in the database are consistently labeled and organized. Subjects show up in several places in the database helping you find results and narrow or broaden searches. Two subjects show up several times — Animal Assisted Therapy and Horses.

Let’s try another search. We’ll search for a Subject in combination with our own terms.

Click Modify Search and make sure your Advanced Search screen is showing. Click Clear Form to remove any text from the boxes. Make sure your cursor is in the first box of the first row. The Thesaurus is a search option that will help us add the Subject, Animal Assisted Therapy to this new search. Click on the Thesaurus link. The PsycINFO Thesaurus opens as a pop-up. In the Search box type:  animal assisted therapy.

Click Find. The Subject appears as a link with a box next to it and a clickable notes icon that gives more information. [Also showing are click boxes labeled Explode and Major. Explode tells the database to search for that term plus any of its more specific terms, expanding your search. Major tells the database to find only those results where that term is one of major focuses. For now leave these options unchecked.]

Click the box to the left of the phrase to select that item. Then click Add to Search. Our Subject shows in the first search box. (Note that the database adds in its own formatting.) Click into the 2nd row and type horse OR equine. Click Search. We see many more results and a larger number of scholarly journal articles and books.

This concludes our video on searching PsycINFO using Subjects. If you have any further questions, please ask a librarian.