Requirements for PsycINFO® Abstracts

PsycINFO® prefers to use the journal abstract as it appears in the journal for two reasons.

First, it's important from a reader's point of view that the two match. When the reader links from a PsycINFO record to the full text, the abstract should be the same to avoid any confusion.

Second, from our workflow perspective, we prefer to spend staff time adding value with the main indexing, checktags, special fields, and so on. Therefore, we look at abstracts carefully when we evaluate journals for possible inclusion in the database.

For more information on journal abstract guidelines, please see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition.



A maximum of 1,500 to 2,000 characters is preferred. The length may be proportionate to the article. That is, shorter articles warrant shorter abstracts, whereas an abstract for a longer article may be at the maximum.



  • Abstracts should be clear and easy to read with enough detail to help the reader understand what the article is about.
  • Sentences should flow logically.
  • The abstract should be written with correct English-language grammar and spelling.


Key elements for an abstract vary according to the type of article. Note: the order in which key elements are placed may vary from article to article for any type. Abstracts should present key elements precisely and concisely, with no extraneous information. Abstracts should not contain data tables, figures, or references. Most of all, they must accurately reflect the content of the article.

Key Elements for Experimental/Research Articles

  • Study purpose

  • Brief description of the subjects

  • Methodology

  • Study location (if important or unusual)

  • Results, conclusions or implications


Key Elements for Discussion Articles

  • Major theme

  • Logical development of the theme

  • Author's point of view

  • Implications, inferences, or conclusions


Key Elements for Literature/Research Reviews

  • Scope of the review

  • Publication time span

  • Publication origin

  • Types of documents reviewed

  • Author's opinion of the reviewed literature, particularly unique or important research findings

  • Conclusions about the research trends