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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Forensic psychology

A guide to finding forensic psychology information, by Ellen Sexton.

Use PsycINFO to find articles on a topic

PsycINFO is the most important and most comprehensive index to the psychological literature. This database indexes articles on psychology topics which have been published in academic journals.  It will also identify chapters from books, dissertations and reports.

PsycINFO will tell you the article exists, give you a summary (abstract), and often links to the full text of the actual article.

PsycInfo indexes articles published anytime between 1887 to present, and for books 1987 to present.

In some libraries, this database is called  Psychological Abstracts or PsycLit - it's the same database, with the same content, but the name & interface varies according to the vendor/sales company the library is using.

Guide to searching PsycINFO from APA »

How to use PsycINFO with Prof. Jill Grose-Fifer

Scholarly v. Popular articles

This 3 minute video from the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University talks about the differences between popular and scholarly articles.  It also mentions trade publications. 

Some general psychology journals

Other databases for finding articles on forensic psychology topics

Finding review articles

Literature review articles summarise what is known about a topic, and  indicate where future researchers might usefully focus their attention.   The authors do not report the results of new research, but tell us briefly what research has already been done by other people. These journals publish literature review articles:

Annual reviews in psychology, clinical psychology.    These books are published every year, and contain articles reviewing the literature on topics of current interest.  Very useful! 

Current opinion in psychology.  

Or instead of browsing, you can use the methodology limiter in the PsycInfo Search Options to show only literature review type articles in your result list:

Subject headings in PsycINFO for forensic psychology

Using appropriate jargon can improve search results.   Here are some words and phrases used in forensic psychology related subject headings, in the PsycINFO database:

Antisocial personality disorder

Bystander effect

Competency to stand trial


Family conflict


Forensic evaluation

Insanity defense 

Intimate partner violence

Partner abuse

Personality measures

Serial homicide


How to get to a journal article when you already know the citation

On the library home page,  click the Journal Titles tab: 


Then type in the name of the journal, NOT the article title.  Hint:  the journal title is often printed in italics


Parts of a citation