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EDU 6975 Interpreting & Applying Educational Research I: Find Articles

Core Education Database List

Other databases and search engines

Keywords versus Subject Terms

For effective searching it is important to understand the difference between Keyword searching and Subject Term searching in databases.

  • Keyword searching asks the search engine to look for every article that has the keywords in it, so an article may, or may not, be on the subject you are interested in researching.
  • Subject Term searching (a.k.a. Controlled vocabulary terms) asks the search engine to look for every article that is related to the concept represented by the Controlled Vocabulary you are using.

Steps for effective/focused searching in ERIC

Use the ERIC database to find articles.

  • Before you start your search, make a list of unique keywords representing your topic.
  • Identify the databases most germane for your research topic.
  • Search by typing a few of the keywords you listed in Step 1 into the first search box. For example, online learning AND academic achievement

Search ERIC

  • On the results page, click on the Peer Reviewed on the left under "Refine Results." The results will automatically update. Read the article titles to find a "pearl of an article" and click on the hyperlinked title to read the abstract.

Limit to Peer Review

  • After clicking on the hyperlinked title of a "pearl of an article," note the list of Descriptors above the abstract. Using these terms will return more focused results. For example, try a search using the descriptor Online Courses.  Add the term Academic Achievement and select SU Descriptors from the drop down menu.  Make sure the "Peer Reviewed" limiter is checked.

Descriptors

Subject Descriptors Search

  • To refine your results to research focused articles, click on the Show More hyperlink on the left under "Limit To." In the "Publication Type" box, select "Numerical/Quantitative," "Reports - Evaluative," and "Reports - Research." Holding down the CTRL button allows you to select non-sequential options.

Refine Search ResultsPublication Type Search

Steps for effective/focused searching in PsycINFO

Use the PsycINFO database to find articles.

  • Search by typing a few unique keywords into the first search box. For example, online learning AND academic achievement

Search PsychINFO

  • In the "Limit your results" section of the search engine, select the Classification Codes 3500, 3510, 3530, 3550, 3560, 3570, 3575, and 3580 to limit the results to educational focused articles. Click the "SEARCH" button.

 Library of Congress Classification

  • On the results page, put a check mark in the Peer Reviewed box in the "Limit To" section. Peruse the article titles to find a "pearl of an article" and click on a hyperlinked title to read the abstract.

Limit to Peer Review

  • After clicking on the hyperlinked title of a "pearl of an article," note the list of Subjects below the abstract. Using these terms will return more focused results. For example, try a search using the subject term Distance Education and select SU Subjects in the drop down box to the right.  Add the term Academic Achievement and select SU Subjects at the right. Don't forget to limit to Peer Reviewed on the results page and check to make sure the correct Classificiation Codes are selected.

Subject Terms

Subject Descriptors Search

  • To refine your results to research and reviews of research in PsycINFO, click on the Show More hyperlink under "Limit To" section on the left. Scroll down to the "Methodology" section and select "EMPIRICAL STUDY," LITERATURE REVIEW," "QUALITATIVE STUDY," and "QUANTITATIVE STUDY."

VIDEOS on Finding quality articles in databases @ 7 minutes each

Learning outcomes: by the end of these 2 screencasts, you will:

  • know how to find education focused subject guides
  • apply database search strategies modeled to:
    • narrow your search
    • perform concept searches versus keyword searches
    • search in a more sophisticated manner
    • be able to identify quality academic articles
    • know the steps to finding the full text of an article