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PSYC 257: Laboratory Research Methods in Social Behavior and Interpersonal Processes

Professor Neil Lutsky - Winter 2024

Psychology databases comparison


PsycINFO Web of Science Google Scholar

What it is

A database of scholarly articles, book chapters, and dissertations in Psychology. A database of scholarly articles in all disciplines. It is designed to allow searching of citations. 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. …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 key words or phrases that describe your topic. List of key words or phrases, or the title of an article that you're interested in. If you’re looking for a specific article, the title of that article. Or very specific key words and phrases.
Drawbacks Does not search the full text or articles in disciplines outside of Psychology Does not search the full text. 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.

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.



Web of Science

Google Scholar

How do I get that article?

Many of the databases listed above only give you the citation and abstract of the article.  So if you've found a perfect article, how do you get to the full text?

Direct links to full text

Some of the databases will give you links to the full text of some articles.  If you find a link to the full text, use it!  If the link isn't there, it doesn't mean that we don't have the article, just that the database doesn't know if we have it.

Find It!

The easiest way to find out if we have an article is the Find It! button that should appear in most of our databases.  The Find It! button searches Carleton and St. Olaf, and lets you know if we have the article, and if so, how to find it.  If it's online, click the link to the full text.  If it's in print, click the link to the catalog to find the call number for the journal.  If the journal is at St. Olaf, use the Request button to have it be sent to you.

Journals list

If you don't see the Find It! button, you can still check our journals list.  Note down the Journal Title (not the article title), the year, issue, and page number of the article.  Search the journals list for the journal title.  If it comes up on the list, click the title of the journal to see all the places we have the journal, and which years are covered.  Different places may cover different years, so pay attention to those dates.  Follow links to get to the online full text, or go to the catalog for the call number of the print journal.


CrossRef is the official site that links the DOI (Document Object Identifier) to the full text of the article.  Enter the DOI in the box, and it will point you to the article, usually at the publisher's website.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar indexes scholarly content on the Internet. If you search for the title of an article, you may find it available on multiple sites, some of which provide free access. It will also point you to the publisher's site.

InterLibrary Loan

If we don't have access to the article, you can request it through InterLibrary Loan.  From the Find It page, if no copies are available, click "Request Document via ILLiad".  You'll have to log in with your Carleton username and password, and then the form should be filled out for you.  Articles will be scannned by the lending library and sent to you electronically.  Articles often arrive in 2-3 days, but it can take longer.  You can also submit a request manually through ILLiad.