Searching the PsychLIT Database for Literature on Minority Groups

Asian Am Pac Isl J Health. Spring 1994;2(2):146-151.


PURPOSE OF THE PAPER. This paper proposes to analyze the ways in which minority groups are represented by indexing terms in the PsycLIT database and to suggest techniques for running an effective search on topics relating to these minority groups. SUMMARY OF METHODS UTILIZED. In order to determine how often the names of minority groups appear as descriptors in PsycLIT over a twenty-year span, nine terms were individually entered in each successive year of document publication from 1973 to 1992. Minority-group terms were also searched in the current journals file, and the resulting document records scanned, in order to observe indexing nuances and to recommend methods for increasing retrieval. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS. Occurrence rates were found to vary over time among the minority-group terms, with "Blacks" clearly in the lead. Retrieval of less-frequently occuring group names increased when various free-text search methods were employed, leading to the conclusion that PsycLIT searchers should use the available thesarus terminology and, when necessary, should supplement it with non-thesaurus terms. CONCLUSIONS. This paper can serve as an introduction to the subtleties of searching the PsycLIT database for psychology literature relevant to minority groups, particularly Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. RELEVANCE TO ASIAN PACIFIC ISLANDER AMERICAN POPULATIONS. This paper gives the reader background on using PsycLIT to search for literature relevant to mental health research conducted on Asian Pacific Islander Americans. KEY WORDS. Asians; Asian Americans; Pacific Islanders; Mental Health.