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SPED6290: Current Issues in Special Education: Finding Articles

Tips for Searching Databases

  • Limit to scholarly and/or peer reviewed (in most cases).  This will show research-based results.
  • Avoid selecting full-Text only.  All of our databases are connected and you might miss some important results that are just a click away.
  • Choose your keywords carefully to avoid ambiguous or too specific terms.  Use quotation marks around common phrases.
  • Too few results?  Check your spelling or use related search terms (e.g. instead of grade 12, try secondary education).
  • Use quotation marks around phrases
  • If you find a good source, use it as a tool for finding similar articles (look at the descriptors or subject terms).
  • Use Boolean terms AND and OR to fine tune your search.
    • AND narrows results using unrelated concepts (e.g., computer AND instruction).  Great for getting more focused results.
    • OR expands results using similar/related concepts (e.g., computers OR technology).  Great for getting more results.
  • Make sure to search in multiple databases (don't rely on just Google Scholar!) and adjust your search terms accordingly.
  • Consider keeping a search journal/log listing the databases searched, keywords used, and how successful each search was. This can keep you from repeating an unsuccessful search.

  Databases for Education Topics

Here are links and brief descriptions of the Library databases that can be used to find articles about education.

You might be tempted to start your research with Google Scholar. It's familiar search interface may make you think that it's easier to use than the other databases recommended.  

Just remember that the other databases are more focused on the topic of Education and offer more options for limiting/focusing your searches.

We recommend starting with databases like ERIC and ProQuest Education, then moving to Google Scholar once you've exhausted these other options.  It will help to fill in any gaps, but you'll also be familiar enough with the literature to know what is appropriate for your research.

Scholarly Articles

In your coursework you are expected to use high quality, scholarly sources of information. The following tutorial will help you understand what scholarly sources are.