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Syracuse University Libraries

Human Development & Family Science

Advanced Search Strategies and Subject headings for Psycinfo


1887 - present; updated monthly.

Advanced Search : Look at the many fields PsycINFO offers to limit your search at the bottom of the Advanced Search page, such as:

  • peer review
  • age group
  • methodology (clinical case study, experimental, quantitative, qualitative, etc.) 

Another useful search strategy is to use the link for Thesaurus to browse the terms (Subject headings) under which PsycINFO'S indexers have classified the entries in the database. 

Subject headings are the main topics of the entries in the database.  Searching with Subject headings will allow you to focus and narrow your search. How and Why PsycINFO'S Thesaurus adds value to your search. 

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Advanced Search Strategies and Subject headings for Sociological & Social Services Abstracts

Social Services Abstracts and Sociological Abstracts use the same interface.  They look the same and work the same way for the most part.

Social Services Abstracts:citations from 1980-present and includes abstracts of journal articles and dissertations, and citations to book reviews.

Sociological Abstracts Description:  journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,700 serials publications, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Covers 1963 to the present; updated six times per year.

Advanced Search:Unlike PsycINFO, there are no separate fields to limit for age group or methodology.  Somewhat similar limits are available by using the Thesaurus (or Subject headings).

Subject headings are the main topics of the entries in the database, under which the entries have been classified by the indexer.  Searching with Subject headings will allow you to focus and narrow your search.

How to use Subject headings:

This link will open Social Services Abstracts in another window so that you can come back here to follow the steps below .

  • Enter search terms in the search boxes.  Example: programs
  • If you think of a synonym(s), enter them in the next search boxes.  The word OR is between the boxes so that you will find either of the terms.  Example: research OR case studies
  • In the combo box after the terms you entered, choose "Subject headings".
  • If another term is necessary for your topic, enter it after the combo box that says "AND".  Example: imprisonment
  • Choose the search button to run your search.

    Sample search using Subject headings in Social Services Abstracts or Sociological Abstracts (see below):

combo boxes for subject headings

To find additional Subject headings, use the Thesaurus link in Social Services Abstracts or Sociological Abstracts.

Another way to find additional Subject headings is to observe the Subject headings in the results of your search.

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Additional Search Strategies and Subject headings for Social Work Abstracts

Social Work Abstracts

Description: More than 26,000 records, spanning 1977 to the present, from social work and other related journals on topics such as homelessness, AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, community organization, and more. NASW Clinical Register database contains listing of registered social workers, including their address and phone numbers, education and specialization, type of practice and license information. Access Note: Two simultaneous users only.


Subject headings
Subject headings for Social Work Abstracts (examples)

Case study

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