In July 2021, APA added 50 new terms to the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms® to provide more effective searching on current topics including vaccination attitudes, racial trauma, and gender expression.
Most of these new terms were mapped back and added to records published in APA’s databases in the last 5 years. This Thesaurus update also included 32 new cross-referenced terms, and new and revised scope notes.
The 9,900+ index terms found in the Thesaurus provide precise and consistent terminology for searching all APA research databases. Using the controlled vocabulary of the Thesaurus means a database search will quickly retrieve all items about a specific concept no matter what keywords the authors used.
The Thesaurus tool is found on all platforms as part of APA PsycInfo® and redirects synonyms to the preferred “Use” term to include in your search. Each Thesaurus record includes links to broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms, the year the term was introduced, an historical note if applicable, and a scope note providing definition and application.
Welcome to “From the Deck of . . .” an irregular series in which we highlight search demos and other information from the slide decks we create for our live training sessions. You can view and download these materials from theAPA Publishing Training SlideShare account.
At the ACRL meeting this month, we presented a Lunch & Learn training session covering updates and search tips for APA’s databases.
The presentation covered the recent thesaurus update, upcoming changes to the PsycTESTS database, and features of the My PsycNET platform manager.
Live demos included the following example searches:
using thesaurus terms
updating a saved search with the new thesaurus terms
using PsycINFO’s tests & measures field to find a known test
recently released an update to the Thesaurus
of Psychological Index Terms. The Thesaurus provides precise and consistent
terminology for searching all APA research databases. We added 305 new “preferred”
Index Terms and approximately 70 new non-postable or “use” references*.
Each item in the APA databases – journal articles, books and book chapters, dissertations, and more – is represented by a record that is indexed, or tagged, with Index Terms from the Thesaurus. The use of a controlled vocabulary allows someone searching a database to quickly find all items about a specific concept — such as Animal Behavior, Marginalized Groups, or Prescription Drug Misuse — no matter what terminology or keywords the authors used.
areas, technologies, and social issues as well as changing nomenclature, this
updated vocabulary will provide users with more targeted and efficient search
and discovery. Additionally, we added new terminology in the expanding areas of
psychological assessment, psychometrics, and research methods. You can view
more details on our web page, What’s New in the
2019 Update, including a link to the full
list of new and updated Index Terms (PDF, 135KB).
It’s Tutorial Tuesday! In this series, we explore APA’s library of video tutorials available on the PsycINFO® YouTube channel and the APA Style CENTRAL® YouTube channel. Please feel free to link to or embed our videos in your library websites or LibGuides, course management systems, or other locations where students, faculty, and researchers will find them.
How can you be sure you are finding the best results for your search?
By using the best search terms! The APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms (“APA Thesaurus”) contains the controlled vocabulary that APA uses to describe and categorize all content indexed in PsycINFO. This resource is regularly updated to include new and changing terminology for topics in the behavioral sciences, and you can put it to work for you!
Using the APA Thesaurus helps you eliminate “noise” from your search and retrieve the most relevant results by revealing the best search terms for your topic. The APA Thesaurus is a valuable tool for students new to research or any researcher who is new to a topic area and may not yet know the best terminology for searching.
This brief video (2:40 minutes) demonstrates the benefits of using the APA Thesaurus when searching databases on the APA PsycNET platform, and includes:
Examples of recent terminology updates to the APA Thesaurus;
How to access the APA Thesaurus when crafting a search;
Using the APA Thesaurus to find related terms for narrowing or expanding your search;
Discovering index terms for broader concepts that encompass your research topic and make searching more efficient; and
Uncovering additional search terms you may not have considered.
This tutorial is a great resource to link from a LibGuide or course module for any class working with APA Databases on APA PsycNET, and can be helpful in answering email or chat reference questions.
The previous version of this tutorial will remain available, but if you have embedded or linked to it anywhere, we encourage you to update your materials with the link to this new version.