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Interdisciplinary Research for Law Students and Faculty: PsychInfo

This guide provides instruction on the process of finding books and scholarly articles for MU School of Law students and faculty.

Accessing PsycINFO

PsycINFO - new interface from Ebsco

PsycINFO contains references to articles in more than 1,300 periodicals as well as technical reports, dissertations, and other materials in psychology and related behavioral and social sciences. With the inclusion of PsycARTICLES, over 44,000 full-text articles from more than 50 journals published by the American Psychological Association and participating publishers are provided.

Sign In

PsycINFO allows you to create an account in the database to save information in.  That way, you can pop items into folders to find them later without having to print everything out.    You'll see a Sign In button at the top.

Wildcards and Truncation

Wildcard and Truncation Symbols

Use the wildcard and truncation symbols to create searches where there are unknown characters, multiple spellings or various endings. Neither the wildcard nor the truncation symbol can be used as the first character in a search term.


The wildcard is represented by a question mark ? or a pound sign #.

To use the ? wildcard, enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?. EBSCOhost finds all citations of that word with the ? replaced by a letter. 

For example, type ne?t to find all citations containing neat, nest or next. EBSCOhost does not find net because the wildcard replaces a single character.  

Note: When searching for a title that ends in a question mark, the symbol should be removed from the search in order to ensure results will be returned.

To use the # wildcard, enter your search terms, adding the # in places where an alternate spelling may contain an extra character. EBSCOhost finds all citations of the word that appear with or without the extra character.

For example, type colo#r to find all citations containing color or colour.


Truncation is represented by an asterisk (*). To use truncation, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an *. EBSCOhost finds all forms of that word.

For example, type comput* to find the words computer or computing.

Note: The Truncation symbol (*) may also be used between words to match any word.

For example, a midsummer * dream will return results that contain the exact phrase, a midsummer night’s dream.

Proximity Searching

Proximity Searches

You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a Keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

Near Operator (N) - N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

Within Operator (W) - In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

Note: These operators will not work when parentheses are used to separate search terms. For example: (tax or tariff) N5 reform will not find results. You must use (tax N5 reform) or (tariff N5 reform).


Using Explode and Major Concept


When you Explode a term, you create a search query that “explodes” the subject heading. The headings are exploded to retrieve all references indexed to that term as well as all references indexed to any narrower subject terms.

Exploding retrieves all documents containing the selected term, as well as any of its first level of narrower terms. If a plus sign (+) appears next to a narrower or related term, there are narrower terms below it.

Major Concept

When you select Major Concept for a term, you create a search query that finds only records for which the subject heading is a major point of the article. Searches are limited with specific qualifiers (subheadings) to improve the precision of the search, and limited to major subject headings indicate the main concept of an article.

Combining Explode and Major Concept

If you select both Explode and Major Concept, you retrieve all references indexed to your term (and its narrower terms) and all articles for which the subject heading is a major point of the article.

Cited References

PsycINFO provides links to the references cited in their scholarly papers.  It also provides links to papers that cite the paper you are looking at.  Not all these resources can be found in full text in PsycINFO, but you'll see a Find It @ MU button that will take you to the A-Z Finder to see if access is available from another vendor.

Visual Search

Visual Search

If a Visual Search link appears below the Find field, you can also search EBSCOhost and have your results presented in an interactive, visual map. You can change the style of the Result List at any time by selecting either Block style or Column style from the Display Style menu.

Columns Style Result List

To conduct a visual search:


  1. Click the Visual Search link below the Find field on the EBSCOhost screen.

    Visual Search Screen

  2. Enter your search terms in the Find field.

  3. Click Search. Your search results are displayed in columns. To follow a path, click on the subject (or publication) name. Your results are narrowed even further.

    Note: Visual Search returns the top 250 most recent results related to your search terms.

    Visual Search Result List - Columns Style

  4. Results Sorting Options - To see different ways to group, sort, or filter your search, click any of the buttons above the Result List. You can select these options at any time – before you run your search, or after, when you are viewing your results.

    • Group Results – You can group by Subject or by Publication Name.

    • Sort Results – You can sort the results by Date (newest to oldest), or by Relevance (articles with the greatest relevance at the top of the list; those with the least relevance at the bottom of the list). 

    • Filter Results by Date – Move the Date Range slider to filter from the newest articles to the oldest. 

    • Display Style – Switch between the Blocks or Columns view at any time.

To preview an article:

  1. To view the citation, click the article title inside the result. The Summary window displays more information about the article, including Title, Author, Journal Name, and a brief abstract. 

    Preview an Article

  2. To view the full text of the article (if available), click the More link at the bottom of the citation. The Summary window will expand to display the full article. 

To collect articles:

 Use the Collect Articles area to "drag-and-drop" articles that you are interested in. Items that you "collect" will remain there for the current session, unless you remove them. You will need to collect the items that you want to save to your folder.

To save items to your folder:

  1. With your Result List displayed, drag the articles to the Collect Articles area.

    Collecting Articles

  2. Click the Add to Folder link. The items are immediately added to your "session" folder.

  3. If you want to save the items for use in a future session, be sure to sign into your My EBSCOhost account.

Block Style Result List

If you select a Display Style of Blocks,  the "block-style" Result List will display.

 Block Style Result List

The Block Style Result List has two additional features - the control arrows, and the Results Map. To follow a path, use the control arrows on the left-hand side of the screen. Or, click in a new block within the Results Map to move to a different area of the Result List.



Browse a list of indexes for a specific database to view available citation fields.

To search by Index fields:

  1. Click the More link at the top of the EBSCOhost screen.

  2. Click the Indexes link. If you are searching multiple databases, several Indexes may be available. They will appear in the drop-down list.

    Indexes Drop-Down List

  3. Select the Index that you want to search. The Index Search Screen appears. 

  4. Select a field from the drop-down list, for example: Author.

  5. Enter your search term in the Browse for field, for example: Updike.

  6. Click Browse to list your search results in alphabetical order, beginning with your selected term.

    List of Index Terms

  7. Mark the check box next to the term you want to select. Repeat steps 4 to 6 to add more items to the Browse for field.

  8. Click Search to view your results.