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Library Workshop: Searching Science Databases for Psychology, Health and Human Services, and School Counseling: Thesaurus Searching

Highlights resources for researching science databases in related psychology, human services, and counseling databases

PsycINFO Step-By-Step Thesaurus Searching

This help sheet will walk you through a Thesaurus search in the database APA Psycinfo. The Thesaurus provides broader, narrower and related terms structured in a "tree" view, which is useful for broadening or narrowing topics. Our topic will be looking for research articles on how those who have been involved in major car accidents cope with anxiety.

1) First, go to APA Psycinfo and select Advanced Search:

APA Psycinfo advanced link


2) Then, select Thesaurus from the top menu and browse the Thesaurus for the term anxiety. In the results will be the term anxiety, plus a list of narrower terms:

APA Psycinfo thesaurus searching


3) Since the narrower terms are not related to our topic, we will choose to focus on anxiety by selecting the box Major Concept.


4) With Anxiety and Major Concept selected, Add to the search box with AND:

APA Psycinfo add search term


5) Next, browse for the term car accident in the thesaurus. Note that this term is not recognized.
Try a related term: automobile accidents. In this case, the thesaurus suggests the term Motor Traffic Accidents.
Click on Motor Traffic Accidents and repeat the previous step to Add as a Major Concept.
Note: be sure to select AND from the drop-down Add menu -- OR will do the opposite of combining the results.

APA Psycinfo thesarus search one


6) These actions will combine the two search terms and deliver combined search results when you click Search:

APA Psycinfo add term