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PsycInfo database: Finding CITED REFERENCES in PsycInfo


Instead of searching for topics & keywords found in the abstracts of articles, CITED REFERENCE SEARCHING works by looking exclusively at the underlying bibliographies, and searching to see what articles (if any) have cited a specific work.

CITED REFERENCES do not necessarily mean that an author agrees with the work that they are citing.  For instance, lots of modern day psychologists & psychiatrists disagree with various aspects of Sigmund Freud's works from the 19th century, but they still find good reasons to compare & contrast his writings with 21st century research on human behavior.

CITED REFERENCE searching works best when you have a specific journal article in mind which was published at least 2 years ago.  That allows sufficient time to pass between the date your target article first became readable by the public at large, and time for someone to specifically mention it in their article, which must have been published after the target article came out.  The cycling time between an author submitting an article to a journal, and the peer reviewed final product showing up can easily take TWELVE MONTHS even in an era of electronic publishing.  Part of this delay is attributed to the fact that virtually every peer reviewer & most authors are volunteers, who have to find time to work on articles in between the primary duties of their day jobs.

Regardless of which database offers you CITED REFERENCE searching, the results of this specialized search is always a bit 'fuzzier" than subject or keyword searching.  These problems stem from a variety of factors:

  • - numerous methods of citing the very same work (hundreds of different style manuals other than APA, such as MLA or Chicago).
  • - numerous changes over time within any one style manual methods of citing (7 editions for APA's style manual, 9 for MLA, and 17 for Chicago).
  • different stylistic methods of listing authors when a work has 3 or more Co-Authors.
  • - different stylistic methods of listing a work that is either a chapter from a book, a dissertation, or a conference paper, but often times presumed to be "a journal article".
  • - inconsistent mentioning of authors names that either have compound names or hyphenated names.
  • - authors that have been inconsistent in using their middle initial / middle name.
  • - authors that have been inconsistent in using their given name / initials in lieu of their given name.
  • - inconsistent use of Titles & Subtitles (such as leaving out words from a lengthy subtitle).
  • - inconsistent use of compound words or hyphenated words  in Titles & Subtitles.
  • - inconsistent use of AND, +, & (this is very common with Journal Names, as well as in Article titles & subtitles)
  • - inconsistent use of THE when it is the first word in either the name of a Journal or of a Book, or the first word in the Title of an article.
  • - inconsistent use of ABBREVIATIONS in lieu of spelling out entire sets of words (this is problematic with names of Journals, as well as Article titles & subtitles).
  • - the fact that bibliographies tend to have more proof reading or omission errors (Page numbers, Issue numbers, Publication dates) than typographical accuracy within the main body of articles & books.

PsycInfo is one database that offers the option to look at cited references, but it only functions for those journals where the publishers have granted access rights for the PyscInfo database to process and cross-link the bibliographies.  Cited Reference searching is also dependent on the signing of operating agreements, and the standardized use of specific fields, to simplilfy online processing of millions of citation records from thousands of other journals.

Please note that PsycInfo's ability to provide evidence of Who Cited Whom to be somewhat limited.  Part of this problem is due to the fact that PsycInfo is only looking at other publications that are picked up by PsycInfo.  

Walking you through CITED REFERENCE searching with PSYCINFO database

First of all, you have to a specific journal article in mind, which was published at least 2 years ago for this special type of searching to work effectively.

If you are already glancing at results from a Subject or Keyword search, then you would hopefully have a variety of results on your screen, in the brief format.

Here is an example of using the PsycInfo database to look for PEER REVIEWED articles about DEMENTIA intersecting with LANGUAGE and MUSIC THERAPY (you can click on this link to open up this particular example with your own computer):

There are 26 citations that match this particular search strategy.

You can see that every occurrence of any of our search words shows up in the results in BOLD (in both the Brief displays, and in the Full display formats).

If we move down the screen a bit, we can see the first couple of citations in the BRIEF format, along with some database tools in the far left column:

If you look carefully at these first 3 citations in the Brief format, you should take notice that only one of these has the phrase "Times Cited in this Database". showing in blue, along with the # of cited references found in this database and it is clickable!

That is THE key phrase that you should be looking for -- this spells out for this particular article which was published in Volume #37 of Journal of Music Therapy was cited 55 times by other works found within this PsycInfo database.




There can be additional articles found in other databases that also cited this same journal article that was published in the year 2000, but those other citations are physically beyond the reach of PsycInfo.

If you are looking at a citation in the FULL display format, then things move around on the screen a bit.  The special link "Times Cited in this Database" moves over to the far left column, along with the "Find It @ Willamette" button.

Regardless of whether you have the Brief or Full version on the screen, in both cases, just click on that blue link, and you will get a whole new set of results, each of which has cited the same article authored by Brotons & Koger in 2000.

Here is what the final results will look like, showing all 55 citations:

results of 55 citations citing Brotons & Koger article published in 2000


Gary Klein (librarian for Psychology)

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Gary Klein
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Mark O. Hatfield Library
Willamette University
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Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
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Portland Oregon 97209