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Comparison of Databases

  PsycINFO Web of Science PubMed Google Scholar
What it is A database of scholarly articles, book chapters, and dissertations in the field of psychology. A database of scholarly articles in all disciplines. It is designed to allow searching of citations. A database of scholarly articles and books in biomedical and life sciences fields. Google’s search of scholarly articles. It covers most academic publishers and articles posted on college and university websites.
It's awesome for... …doing a search on a topic in psychology, especially if you have parameters such a specific methodology, population, or a test/measure that you’re interested in. …starting with an article and seeing who has cited it (and who has cited that…).  Especially good for finding newer research. ...doing a search on a topic in medicine. Especially good for finding particular types of articles (meta analyses, clinical trials, systematic reviews, etc.). …finding the full text of an article that you can’t find elsewhere, sometimes. Authors sometimes put their article up on the web, giving you free access.
What you need List of keywords or phrases that describe your topic. List of keywords or phrases, or the title of an article that you're interested in. List or keywords or phrases, or list of Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms. If you’re looking for a specific article, the title of that article. Or very specific keywords and phrases.
Drawbacks Does not search the full text or articles in disciplines outside of psychology. Does not search the full text. Does not search the full text or include articles in disciplines outside of medicine. It can be hard to narrow results, no discipline-specific indexing. May take you to sites that ask for money to access them – please, DON’T pay for access to articles!
Search Notes

PsycINFO provides a lot of specialized limiters on the advanced search screen:  You can limit results based Tests & Measures, Methodology (empirical study or literature review, for example), and Population.

Use a different row for each different concept. Add synonyms for concepts in a box separated by the word OR (eg: college OR university).

If you need help coming up with terms, check out the Thesaurus. The link is in the upper left corner.

Once you’ve got a list of results, you can narrow it by keyword, subject, or type of document along the left side.

When looking at an article:

  • Times Cited - finds newer articles that cite that article.
  • Cited References - finds the bibliography of that article.
  • View Related Records - finds articles with similar bibliographies.

PubMed provides a lot of specialized limiters when viewing search results, including Article Type, Species, Age, and more. Click the "Additional Filters" button in the left column to view all possible filters.

When looking at an article:

  • Similar articles - finds articles with similar titles, abstracts, and MeSH terms.
  • Cited by - finds newer articles that cite that article
  • MeSH terms - MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings. Use these as search terms to find other articles in the database tagged with these same terms.

If the article is available for free, you’ll see a link to the right of the result. If you see “Carleton Full Text” link, the library has access to the article. Click it to get access.

Off-campus? Go to Settings and then click Library Links and search for Carleton College. You'll see the "Full Text" links when we have the article.

If there is no free access, click "More" and then "Check Library Holdings". Request the article via ILL from there.