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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Database Training

Graduate Assistant Orientation: Introduction to Database Searching

General Information

About ProQuest

  • ProQuest is a VENDOR.
  • ProQuest provides access to roughly 81 databases, which include a variety of scholarly and popular articles, from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives, to news, to subject specific articles.

About PsycINFO

  • PsycINFO is a product provided by ProQuest
  • Provides access to international literature in psychology and related disciplines. 

Searching PsycINFO and Other ProQuest Databases

Depending on which ProQuest database you select the interface may default to either the Basic Search or the Advanced Search. You may select either option above the search box(es).

1. Searching PsycINFO

To use the Advanced Search:

Enter separate keywords/phrases into each box.


  • ? : Wildcard symbol used to replace a single character (e.g. nurse? finds nurses and nursed; sm?th finds smith and smyth)
  • * : Truncation symbol: The truncation character used to replace up to 10 characters at the middle or end of a word and is also a multi-character wildcard for finding alternative spellings, used to indicate an unlimited number of characters within a word.
  • The default sort of results in ProQuest is Relevance. The sort may be changed by selecting another option in the sort dropdown on the left. 

2. Search Options

Search options can be set at the beginning of your search in the Advanced Search interface, however, it is often better to start with the default options and then use the narrow results tools once you have your results.

3. Narrowing Results

You may narrow your results by using the options included on the left side of the results page. Be aware that the options included will vary depending on which ProQuest database you are using.

Examples of some more commonly used options include:

  • Source type
  • Methodology
  • Age group
  • Population

Saving and Managing Records

  • To save records, mark them by clicking on the box to the left of the citation in the results list. This will add the item to your folder on the top-right. 
  • To view all saved records click the folder icon on the top-right.
  • Additionally, the bar directly above the results list provides options to Cite, Email, Print, Save.

Locating Full Text

Full text availability in ProQuest databases varies. If the full text is available through ProQuest, you will be able to download the PDF file. If not, click on the Discover link or other options provided for searching full text.

1. Locating Print Copies of Articles

From a citation list:

  • Click any Full Text Availability links for an individual item.
  • Click on the link that redirects to the Library Catalog. 

For an individual item:

  • Click on the Discover link
  • Click on the link that redirects to the Library Catalog. 

Additional Features

My Research is a feature provided by ProQuest that allows researchers to save, manage, and organize their research. The log-in created is affiliated with ProQuest, not the library, and any individual account troubleshooting must happen through ProQuest.