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Background Information Sources

How can background information, found in reference resources, help?

  • Provide general information - like a definition or fact
  • Explore context surrounding a topic - the big picture
  • To help focus a topic - explore the subdivisions and perspectives
  • Locate additional sources - in bibliographies 

DSM Editions in Hewes Library

Current Edition Available in Hewes Library

More about the DSM and editions available

Reference Collections in Psychology

Find Books Using Library Catalogs

Hewes Library Catalog

  • Locate physical books, DVDs and media owned by Hewes Library; select Ebooks included
  • Materials may be print or digital and are immediately available on campus

I-Share Catalog


  • A larger, international library catalog, WorldCat, allows identification of materials beyond the Hewes Library and the I-Share Catalog. (Be sure to check these catalogs first.)
  • Materials identified in WorldCat may be requested using WorldShare.
  • Items may take 7-14 days to arrive. *NOTE: COVID-19 quarantines will cause an added 1 day delay.*


A database is a collection of records. The records represent articles, chapters, or documents originally published in journals, magazines, newspapers, books or other sources. Some databases include the full text of the record.

How to find the full text:

1. Use the "Find This Item" button in the database to search all Monmouth College Library resources for the full text. 

Find this item

2. If the Article Linker does not lead to full text, you may use the link provided on that same page to place an Interlibrary Loan request. The digital copy of the article will be obtained from another library and emailed to you.


Sample PsychInfo Searches

Keyword (All Text) Searching

perception and (“ideal body” or “ideal shape” or “perfect body”)

schizophrenia and “sex differences”

stress and student* and (college* or universit*)



Boolean operators

Boolean operators (connector words) such as ANDOR, and NOT, create phrases based on rules of search logic.  

Operator Examples Results                                        

business AND ethics

Retrieves records that contain ALL of the search terms.

hotels OR motels

Retrieves records that contain ANY of the search terms, but does not necessarily include all of them.

java NOT coffee  

Excludes records containing the second search term.  

Truncation Searching

The “ * ” replaces any number of characters and will find all forms of a word root.

  • child* LOCATES child, children, childhood
  • therap* LOCATES therapy, therapies, therapist, therapists, therapeutic, therapeutically

Note: symbols used may differ based on the tool used.  Consult the help documentation.

Wildcard " # " replaces any extra characters that may appear in alternative spellings.

  • colo#r LOCATES color, colour

Wildcard " ? ” replaces one character

  • ne?t LOCATES neat, nest, or next, but will not find net

Searching PsycINFO for Tests and Measures

Helpful tips on searching tests and measures in PsycINFO and PsycTESTS

Locate tests and measures using scholarly article databases

1.  Tests and measurements may be identified in the scholarly literature found in databases.
Conduct a topical search in PsycINFO, PsycTESTS or ERIC (education). Once you locate a relevant article, take note of the "Tests & Measures" field of the citation. These are the instruments utilized by the authors of the article. In PsycINFO, a DOI link will lead to a detailed summary (and possible full text) of a measure in PsycTESTS.

Test appended

2.  A test or measure MAY be reproduced within the text of the scholarly article or chapter. 

  • IF the test IS available in the article/chapter, the word APPENDED will appear after the test name in the TESTS & MEASURES field of the PsycINFO full record.
  • The DOI link will lead to the PsycTESTS descriptive record. This may/may not provide the full text of the test.

psyc info test appended image

  • Try a search with the word "appended" in the TM field, with topic keywords. Records that include the test in the article text will be found.


3. To locate additional literature that mentions a specific test, search for the test title in:

  • "Tests & Measures" field in PsycINFO
  • "Title" field in PsycTESTS
  • Default field or "All Text" field in ERIC using quotations marks around the title
    • e.g. "children's depression inventory 2"

4.  Additional search tips on video

5. Mental Measurements Yearbook 
"The Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY) includes test reviews, providing evaluative information to encourage informed test selection. Typical MMY test entries include descriptive information and one or two reviews written by professionals in selected fields." 

One search strategy:  search the MMY INDEX online http://buros.unl.edu/buros/jsp/search.jsp. Then locate the REVIEW of the test in the print volumes in Hewes Library. Note the date the test was published, and look up the review in the closest print edition published after that date.  You may also use the "Score Index" at the end of each print volume to locate tests associated with certain subjects. Ask a librarian for assistance.

REVIEWS are available in PRINT volumes in Hewes Library, Reference Collection BF431.B932
Use the index at the end of each volume to search by keyword.

If the test or measure is NOT available full-text in PsycTESTS:

  • Search for scholarly journal articles, using a library database, that may have reproduced the test in the article text
  • Google the test title using "  " for an online version if available
  • Consult with a librarian. Make an appointment at:  reference@monmouthcollege.edu.
  • Tests may be available via interlibrary loan. Once you have identified a specific test, search the WorldCat database to see if a U.S. library owns a copy, and if so, request the item via interlibrary loan.
  • Consult with your instructor to contact the test author.

What is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)?

"The DSM is a manual outlining diagnostic criteria for psychiatric disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. Currently in its fifth revision (DSM-5; APA 2013 ), the manual is widely used to classify patients and select them for research on particular disorders. The first edition of the DSM was published in 1952, in response to the apparent lack of consensus among North American psychiatrists about the criteria for various psychiatric disorders."

Bentall, R. (2006). DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders). In G. Davey, Encyclopaedic dictionary of psychology. London, UK: Routledge. Retrieved from CREDO.

"The DSM consists of three major components: diagnostic classificationdiagnostic criteria sets, and descriptive text."

  • The diagnostic classification is the official list of mental disorders recognized in DSM. Each diagnosis includes a diagnostic code, which is typically used by individual providers, institutions, and agencies for data collection and billing purposes. These diagnostic codes are derived from the coding system used by all U.S. health-care professionals, known as the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM).
  • For each disorder included in DSM, a set of diagnostic criteria indicates symptoms that must be present (and for how long) as well as a list of other symptoms, disorders, and conditions that must first be ruled out to qualify for a particular diagnosis. While these criteria help increase diagnostic reliability (i.e., the likelihood that two doctors would come up with the same diagnosis when using DSM to assess a patient), it is important to remember that these criteria are meant to be used by trained professionals using clinical judgment; they are not meant to be used by the general public in a cookbook fashion.
  • The third area of DSM is the descriptive text that accompanies each disorder.

American Psychiatric Association. (2017). About DSM-5. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/about-dsm

Current Edition Available in Hewes Library

Current Edition Available in Hewes Library
Previous Editions Available in Hewes Library
  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-IV-TR.  (4th edition 2000)
    • Reference Collection, Main Level:  RC455.2.C4 D536 2000
  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.  (3rd edition 1980)
    • Reference Collection, Main Level:  RC455.2.C4 A48 1980
  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.  (2nd edition 1968)
  • Mental disorders; diagnostic and statistical manual.  (1st edition 1952)
    • Reference Collection, Main Level:  RC455.A63 1952

History of Editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)

Editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 

  • DSM-I: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual: Mental Disorders (1952)
  • DSM-I Special Supplement: on plans for revision to better align with the International Classification of Diseases (1965)
  • DSM-II: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2nd Edition (1968)
  • DSM-II 6th printing change: Elimination of Homosexuality as a mental disorder and substitution of the new category Sexual Orientation Disturbance (1973)
  • DSM-III: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition (1980)
  • DSM-III-R: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 3rd Edition—Revised (1987)
  • DSM-IV: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (1994)
  • DSM-IV-TR: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (2000)
  • DSM-V: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (2013)

Research Process PsycInfo Videos PSYC420 PSYC101 Using the Methodology Limiter in APA PsycInfo on EBSCOhost

Using the PsycInfo Thesaurus

Creating an Advanced Search in PsycInfo

Locating tests

PSYC 420 Senior Research Instruction Session:  Resources to help choose a topic

Below are three videos outlining the pre-research process to assist in selecting a research topic. Students are encouraged to brainstorm, search, read (and repeat) using scholarly resources located on this Psychology research guide (see tabs above).  Please watch the three videos below and begin your own pre-research using the provided worksheet. Follow the instructions for submitting this assignment as provided by your faculty.

Please find the additional videos mentioned in the worksheet on the "PsycInfo Videos" tab above. 

Video #1 Brainstorming

Video #2 Background Information

Video #3 Searching PsycInfo


TRUNCATION:  use * at the root of a word to find variable endings

This example will find ADOLESCENT  ADOLESCENCE, etc.


Research Process Overview

The research process typically includes five broad steps. Most often you complete one step before moving onto the next. However, there may be times when you will need to return to a previous step or complete multiple steps simultaneously.

This guide will help you through the research process - from developing a topic to citing resources.  

Step 1. Develop a topic
Brainstorming | Find Background Information | Develop Research Questions | Identify Keywords | Refine a Topic

Step 2. Locate information
Find Books | Find Videos | Find Articles | Find Websites | Search Strategies

Step 3. Evaluate and analyze information and sources
Evaluate Sources | Primary vs. Secondary Sources | Types of Periodicals

Step 4. Use, organize and communicate information
Notetaking Paraphrasing

Step 5. Complies with legal, ethical and moral standards
Academic Honesty | Citation Styles | Works Cited Examples | Copyright