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Search APA PsycNET with Index Terms

Advanced Search Tips

You can search APA PsycNET using more than just Index Terms. The Index Terms are the controlled vocabulary used by this database to organize and label articles. But, you can also search using keywords from your topic. Below are a few advanced search tips for searching with Index Terms and keywords.

Using the following example topic: What interventions are available for individuals who suffer from PPD following a traumatic labor and delivery. Take a look at the three search examples below to see how you can broaden and narrow search results using keywords and Index Terms.

Search Example: Index Terms

The narrowest search you can perform is by using only Index Terms. This search limits you to retrieving articles that have been labeled with the exact Index Terms you select when building your search. The search below uses the Index Terms: Postpartum Depression and Birth Trauma. There are 11 articles on the results list.

advanced search screen in APA PsycNET with Index Term search using postpartum depression and birth trauma

You can search using OR with related Index Terms. Find related Index Terms on either the APA Thesaurus entry for selected Index Terms or by looking at the Index Terms for retrieved articles. The video available on the first page of this guide showcases how to find additional Index Terms.

Search Example: Index Terms & Keywords

You can expand search results by adding keywords. The process and search using Index Terms and Keywords is less straightforward than other databases. In the example below there are two distinct search statements, connected with an OR, that make this type of search possible. The Index Terms used remain the same as above: Postpartum Depression and Birth Trauma. The keywords selected are: Postpartum Depression, PPD, Birth Trauma, Traumatic Birth, and Traumatic labor and delivery.

It's hard to see from the image below, but the search statement in the first box uses the Index Terms, connected with AND: {Postpartum  Depression} AND {Birth Trauma}. In the second box, with the OR selected from the Boolean drop-down, the keywords are connected using Nesting: ("postpartum depression" OR PPD) AND ("birth trauma" OR "traumatic birth" OR "traumatic labor and delivery"). Note that Keywords is selected for the drop-down menu that follows the search box. The results list for this search are slightly larger, with 17 articles retrieved.

advanced search screen for APA PsycNET, search statement using Index Terms: postpartum depression and birth trauma, keywords: ("postpartum depression" OR PPD) AND ("birth trauma" OR "traumatic birth" OR "traumatic labor and delivery")

Example Search: Keywords

This last example search uses only keywords, and searches Any Field. This style of search casts the widest net, and can be useful when scoping a research topic. The search uses the following keywords to create a search statement: ("postpartum depression" OR PPD) AND ("birth trauma" OR "traumatic birth" OR "traumatic labor and delivery"). This search resulted in 38 articles.

advanced search screen for APA PscyNET, keyword search: "postpartum depression" OR PPD AND "birth trauma" OR "traumatic birth" OR "traumatic labor and delivery"