Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a keyword and an index term, and how they can aid your search? What are classification codes, and how does this all relate to MeSH terms? This post will demystify the four types of vocabulary you see in PsycINFO®.
Keywords (also called Key Concepts or Identifiers) – Individual words, key concepts, or brief phrases that describe the document’s content. The list of keywords for an article is often provided by the author or publisher, though sometimes it is created by APA staff. There is no pre-existing list of keywords that authors, publishers, or APA staff choose from.
Keyword searching is a good fit for researchers who are new to a topic, and want to get the full scope of what is available. Keyword searching is most similar to the searching you may do on the internet, because keywords are often in natural language or layman’s terms. In addition, you do not need to select or know terms from a pre-existing list, as you do for the following three types of vocabulary.
Index Terms (also called Subjects or Subject Headings) – Index terms are also single words or brief phrases that describe the document’s content, but they are chosen from a pre-existing list (also called a controlled vocabulary). For the APA databases, that list is the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms®, which includes more than 8,400 terms. APA staff typically choose about six index terms for each document. You can use the thesaurus tool, linked from the PsycINFO search page, to search or browse index terms alphabetically or by topic.
Index term searching is a good fit for the focused researcher, who has identified their best term(s) and now wants to quickly find all of the items about a particular concept. With the wide variety of concepts and vocabulary used in the psychological literature, searching for and retrieving records about specific concepts is virtually impossible without the controlled vocabulary of a thesaurus. It provides a way of structuring the subject matter in a way that is consistent among users (e.g., searching for Dysphoria, Melancholia, and Depression can all be achieved by searching the term “Major Depression”).
The Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention will be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, TX, from Thursday, January 19 – Saturday, January 21, 2017. The American Psychological Association will be participating in the Exhibits Hall throughout the conference.
Stop by to learn more about APA Style CENTRAL®, an exciting new institutional electronic resource for APA Style® that launched this summer, and get the latest updates about APA Journals, Books, and Databases.
And be sure to look for our Theater Session, Teaching with APA Style CENTRAL on Saturday, January 21, 2017, 11:00 am to 12:15 pm.
APA Style CENTRAL® is the newest member of the APA Style® family, launched in July 2016.
APA’s training specialists have developed several webinars for librarians, instructors, and students that include content overview and a live demonstration of features.
Click on any session link to register (all times are EDT).
The Online Introduction introduces librarians to the platform.
Teaching with APA Style CENTRAL details how faculty, librarians, and other instructors can use APA Style CENTRAL in teaching APA Style.
Writing Papers in APA Style CENTRAL teaches end users how to create and save papers using APA Style CENTRAL.
For more information, and to see the full schedule, visit the APA Style CENTRAL webinars page.
PsycTESTS® is a research database that provides information on tests that originated in the scholarly literature. Tests are mined from the journals currently covered in the PsycINFO database.
PsycTESTS records include citations and links to articles that discuss the development of the test and how it can be used. Each PsycTESTS record includes a Permissions field with information about how the test can be used in your research or clinical work.
Currently, over 24,000 PsycTESTS records (almost 60%) grant the permission “May use for Research / Teaching.”
The test PDF has a cover sheet with a longer description of Research / Teaching use:
Test content may be reproduced and used for non-commercial research and educational purposes without seeking written permission. Distribution must be controlled, meaning only to the participants engaged in the research or enrolled in the educational activity. Any other type of reproduction or distribution of test content is not authorized without written permission from the author and publisher. Always include a credit line that contains the source citation and copyright owner when writing about or using any test.
Examples of permitted use include:
- Using the test for educational purposes, for example in a school project
- Publishing the results of research using the test, as well as the test itself, with a copyright notice giving credit to the original test authors
- General use in a clinical setting
Examples of nonpermitted use include:
- Posting the test online
- Implying or stating that the test is your original work
- Publishing the test or selling the test to a commercial publisher
- Using the test in research intended to support commercial gain
The most recent recipient of the APA Librarian Conference Travel Award, Stacey Smith from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, used the award to defray the cost of attendance at the Library Assessment Conference earlier this fall. Alison Cody, assistant manager of APA’s Databases & Electronic Resources Customer Relations group, recently talked with her to get her impressions of the conference. The following transcript of our conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and context.