Library Reference Series

Cross-Cultural Psychology Databases

The Library has a number of databases which support research in cross-cultural psychology. All of them can be found on the Social Sciences section of the Library Databases page.

For all the databases, searching by subject is the most accurate and powerful method of searching. Most databases have a list of subject terms, sometimes called a thesaurus. Use it. This ensures that your request is phrased using the same terminology that was used to index the database. For instance, different databases might use "self image", "self identity", or "self concept" to refer to the same idea. Subject searches produce articles which are very specifically about the topic requested, as opposed to keyword searches which may find articles with only a passing reference to the topic of interest. If your initial subject search does not produce adequate results, first check for additional terms in the thesaurus or browse the subject index of the database you are searching. Try keyword searches only after you've tried a subject search.

Alternately, you may find relevant subject headings by initially doing a keyword search. Select one or two highly relevant articles from that search and look to see what subject headings were used to index those particular articles. Often, you can just click on the subject heading within the record to search for that subject heading.

If your first search finds nothing, try again using a different term, keywords instead of subject terms, or in a new database. There is almost always something out there on your topic. Remember, you can always ask for help from a reference librarian, either in person at the library reference desk, by telephone to (951) 785-2382, or via our e-mail reference form.

PsycInfo is the primary database for any research in the field of psychology. The PscyFirst database consists of the most recent four years of PsycInfo. There is a list of geographic terms used by PsycInfo and PsycFirst available in the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms at the reference computers in the library. Note that you may be able to search regional names (such as "Middle East" or "Asia") as well as the names of specific countries. Keep in mind that country names have changed over the years. You may need to search both the current name and previous name(s).

This guide has been set up in such a way that clicking on the name of the database will open the database in a separate window so you can toggle back and forth between the database and this instruction page. Please note that if the computer you are using is not connected to the La Sierra University campus network, you will need to login to the library proxy server in order to use this function.

PsycInfo (EBSCO)

PsycInfo indexes and provides abstracts to psychology books, journals, dissertations, and technical reports. Includes coverage of psychological aspects of related disciplines, such as medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, anthropology, business, and law.

PsycInfo's journal coverage, spanning 1887-present, includes international material selected from more than 1,500 periodicals written in over 35 languages. Current chapter and book coverage includes worldwide English-language material published from 1987-present.

To search PscyInfo using geographic limiters, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Social Sciences Databases page at
  2. Click on PsycInfo in the left column.
  3. Click on Thesaurus at the top of the screen.
  4. Click on the "Relevancy Ranked" button.
  5. Type the psychological concept in which you are interested in the "Browse for" window and click Browse. You may have to scroll to find your term. If it is not listed, try synonyms or related terms until you find the correct one for this database.
  6. Click on your term.
  7. Click in the box to the left of your term and then click Search. Note that you may select more than one term for searching if some of the "Related" or "Narrower" terms are relevant. If you want to include all narrower terms in your search, you may click in the "Explode" box. Scan the related terms to see if one of them better describes your topic..
  8. Click on Refine Search at the top of the search results.
  9. On the second line, type a geographic area in the first box and select "PL Population_Location" from the drop-down menu on the right. In this database, you can use the names of countries (China, US, Mexico) or of larger regions (Asia, Africa), but not states or cities. Refer to the list of country names and geographic regions at the library reference desk.
  10. Click Search.
  11. You can also use the name of a culture or ethnicity as a subject in the second box. Select "SU Subjects" instead of "PL Population_Location". For instance: "self-concept AND Hispanic". Select the culture or ethnicity term from the thesaurus as directed above.

[PsycInfo screen shot]

ProQuest: International
ProQuest: Multicultural
ProQuest: Psychology
ProQuest: Social Science
ProQuest: Women's Interest

This cluster of databases from Proquest covers, to some degree, aspects of, or topics related to, cross-cultural psychology. Proquest-Psychology covers human development, learning, and psychiatry. Proquest-Social Science includes anthropology, culture, criminology, political science, social welfare, urban development. Proquest-Multicultural deals with gays, lesbians, and minorities within the United States. Proquest-International deals with international affairs and cultures. Proquest-Women's Interest deals with feminism, history, political science, social science, and general interest topics as they relate to women's issues.

To search any of the Proquest databases using geographic limiters, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Social Sciences Databases page at
  2. Click on the desired Proquest database in the left column.
  3. Click on Thesaurus.
  4. Type the concept in which you are interested in the search box, and click Find term. If the term you are interested in does not appear, try synonyms or related terms until you find the correct one for this database.
  5. Close the thesaurus window.
  6. In the first search box, type in the term you found earlier and change the drop-down menu to "Subject."
  7. In the second, type in the name of the region you are interested in and change the drop-down menu to "Location."
  8. Click Search.
  9. Note that it is also possible to limit results to "scholarly journals, inclulding peer-reviewed" if so desired.


[Proquest screen shot]

It is possible to search these five Proquest databases separately or together in any combination desired. To select a combination of Proquest databases for simultaneous searching, follow these instructions:

  1. Click on any one of the databases.
  2. At the Basic Search screen, click on Databases Selected.
  3. Under the "Proquest Research Library" heading, click in the box next to each database you wish to search.
  4. At the bottom of the page, click Continue.
  5. Follow the previous instructions for subject and geographic searching.


Social Science Abstracts (WilsonWeb)

Social Sciences Abstracts indexes and provides abstracts for 400 English-language periodicals in sociology, anthropology, geography, economics, political science, and law, from the U.S. and abroad. Coverage begins in 1983, with abstracts available for articles published in 1994 and afterwards.

To search Social Science Abstracts using geographic limiters, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Social Sciences Databases page at
  2. Click on WilsonWeb in the left column.
  3. Click on Thesaurus in the left column.
  4. Enter your topic in the "Seach Thesaurus For:" box and click Start. If your topic keywords do not appear, continue trying synonyms until you find the term used by the thesaurus.
  5. Click on Advanced Search in the left column.
  6. In the "Subject Area" box, scroll down to the bottom and select "Social Science".
  7. In the first "Search For" box, put the psychological term that you found using the thesaurus.
  8. Change the associated drop-down menu to "Subject".
  9. In the second "Search For" box, put the name of the country or ethnic group you are interested in.
  10. Change the associated drop-down menu to "Subject".
  11. Click on Start.
  12. You may limit results to only scholarly journals by clicking in the "Peer Reviewed" box.

[Social Science Abstracts screen shot]

Contemporary Women's Issues

CWI is a multidisciplinary database including more than 1500 journals providing global information on women from fields such as sociology, psychology, health, education, and human rights. Also includes newsletters, research reports, fact sheets, and government and international agencies.

This database is indexed using a very short list of "Subject Areas". While it is possible to do keyword searching within the full text, this is likely to result in a high percentage of less relevant or irrelevant articles. Check the "Subject Area" list to see if your topic is indexed. If not, you will probably be better off searching another database.

To search Contemporary Women's Issues using geographic limiters, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Social Sciences Databases page at
  2. Click on Contemporary Women's Issues in the left column.
  3. Select your topic of interest from the "Subject Area" scrolling menu.
  4. Select the geographic area of choice from the "Geo Region" scrolling menu.
  5. Click Search.

Social Work Abstracts

Social Work Abstracts indexes and provides abstracts for more than 35,000 records, covering social work and other related journals on topics such as homelessness, AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, community organizations, and more. Coverage begins in 1977.

To search Social Work Abstracts using geographic limiters, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to the Social Sciences Databases page at
  2. Click on Social Work Abstractsin the left column.
  3. Click Index.
  4. Change "Field Name" to DE-Descriptors.
  5. Type in the psychological term you are interested in.
  6. Click Search.
  7. Check the box(es) next to the term or terms you are interested in.
  8. Click Search marked.
  9. In the "Index to Search" window, change "Field Name" to DE-Descriptors.
  10. Type in the geographical term or ethnic identity you are interested in.
  11. Click Search History.
  12. Check the boxes next to the terms you are interested in.
  13. Click Search marked.
  14. Click the "Search History" tab.
  15. Check the boxes by each of your two search results, and click Combine and search using AND.

[Social Work Abstracts screen shot]

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Last updated July 3, 2012