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Psychology: Psychological therapies literature searching: 6. Selecting and searching databases

This tutorial will guide you through searching library resources to find evidence based psychological therapies literature.
Each database covers a different range of sources (some are subject specific, others are interdisciplinary) and the content available will vary. Therefore, you will need to search a number of databases to find all the information you need. Each one will need to be searched separately. As controlled vocabulary and functionality varies between the databases you may need to modify your search strategy to accommodate this. The help section within a database provides advice on using the platform and the search functionality available. 
 
The databases you search will be influenced by your topic and its research focus. You are likely to search APA PsycINFO (via Ovid), Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection (EBSCO) and Medline (PubMed) for most psychological research. You can explore all the subject specific resources available to you via the Psychology A-Z database listing. New to psychology research? Take a look at this introduction to psychology databases

Database interfaces will all vary, and they may use different terminology. However, they all have similar features. Once you are familiar with these, you'll be able to find your way around different databases. You can see the main features in the examples below.

This is what a standard database interface looks like:

Once you click the Search button, the results page appears:

Use the limiter / filter options to help focus your results to the most relevant materials. Typical database filters include: 

  • Publication date: Limit results to those published in a relevant date range.
  • Source type: Filter results by type; e.g. academic journal, conference paper, report, thesis etc.
  • Publication title: View results from specific publication.
  • Subject: Filter results by associated subject 'tags'.

Ovid is an advanced search platform allowing you to perform sophisticated literature searches. The Ovid platform provides access to a number of different research databases. It is good practice to search each database individually. Searching more than one database at a time will disable the thesaurus feature and is not advisable for comprehensive systematic searching.

Once you have selected the database you wish to search you will see there are a number of different types of search options available, each allows you to perform a different type of search. The videos below provide a quick introduction, for in depth guidance on searching Ovid explore the Searching Ovid LibGuide.

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