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EDUCATION Subject Guide: Articles

for all education students

Education Database List

Other databases and search engines

K-12 Databases

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.
  • Controlled Vocabulary searching (using Descriptors or Subjects) 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.

Step 1. Search by typing a few unique keywords into the first search box. For example, vygotsky AND educational theory

Search ERIC

Step 2. On the results page, click on the Peer Reviewed on the left under "Refine your results" and click the Update button. 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

Step 3. 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 keyword vygotsky.  Add the term educational theories and select SU Descriptors from the drop down menu.

Descriptors

Subject Descriptors Search

Steps for effective/focused searching in PsycINFO

Use the PsycINFO database to find articles.

Step 1. Search by typing a few unique keywords into the first search box. For example, vygotsky

Search PsychINFO

Step 2. In the "LIMIT YOUR RESULTS" section of the search engine, select the Classification Codes 3500, 3530, 3550, 3560 to limit the results to educational focused articles. Click the "SEARCH" button.

 Library of Congress Classification

Step 3: On the results page, click on the Peer Reviewed on the left under "Refine your results" and click the Update button. Peruse the article titles to find a "pearl of an article" and click on a hyperlinked title to read the abstract.

Step 4. 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 Zone of Proximal Development and select SU Descriptors in the drop down box at the top.  Add the term Vygotsky. Don't forget to limit to Peer Reviewed on the results page and check to make sure the correct Classifciation Codes are selected.

Subject Terms

Subject Descriptors Search

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