Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Abstracting Services

Abstracting services provide abstracts of articles, often from hundreds of different journals, organized by title, author, and keywords. Most of these services are now computerized to provide quick and easy access to the material.

Psychological Abstracts

  The Psychological Abstracts--updated and published monthly by the American Psychological Association (APA)--provides abstracts and source information (i.e., journals, books) for virtually everything relevant to the field of psychology. The Psychological Abstracts are organized by keywords, which are summarized in a separate publication—the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms

The APA also publishes a series of journals called PsycSCAN, which are quarterly compilations of references organized under several topics (e.g., clinical, applied, developmental).

Computerized Versions

In addition to the bound volumes of Psychological Abstracts that you will find on your library reference shelves, the APA also has several computer search programs (PsycINFO, PsycLIT, PsycFILE, PsycARTICLES, and PASAR). PsycINFO is the most commonly used and probably the most convenient for students. It covers virtually the same material as the bound volumes of Psychological Abstracts

All of the literature search programs published by the APA (bound volumes and computerized) are subsumed under the general heading PsycINFO Services. Most university libraries will subscribe to at least one of these services, and some subscribe to several. The American Psychological Association also allows its members, including student members, to subscribe to these services individually.


Each library will vary on what databases they have available and what form the databases come in. At the University of Buffalo, where your textbook authors teach, the entire database list of the university is available through the Internet to any faculty member or registered student. The examples we present are from this system, but your university is likely to have a similar system. Check with your reference librarian or your course instructor to get the details of your system.

When a university library has a number of computerized databases, they will usually be organized by topic for the library patron. This screen shows the listing for the University of Buffalo library. As impressive as this index of databases is, it is almost certainly outdated now, since the library is adding new databases constantly. To access a specific database, you simply click on the link to that database. For example, this screen shows the welcome page for the PsycINFO database, which is the electronic version of Psychological Abstracts.

The animation below illustrates how one might go about finding and opening a database such as PsycINFO. The animation illustrates the process on the University of Buffalo library. Your library will be organized differently, but it is likely that its databases will be organized in a similar manner.


See It (Animation)

Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC)

ERIC both indexes and abstracts research in education and related areas such as psychology. If your topic is related to educational research you should consult ERIC as well as Psychological Abstracts. Eric is typically available at most university libraries as an electronic database.

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