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EDLP6040: Curriculum Design: Theory & Practice: Finding Articles & Books

Tips for Effective Search Strategies

Searching works best when you have a research question in mind. You should be able to identify key concepts related to your research. These concepts form the basis for your search terms.

Know your topic. Exploring general sources (a chapter in your textbook, an encyclopedia article or other background reading) is a good way to start. The better you understand a topic, the easier it is to evaluate sources.

What is your purpose? Since you are developing a professional development program you need to select research that supports your program. You also need to identify materials to be used by classroom teachers, as well as online resources. You must also develop a convincing presentation. 

Start early. Until you have done some searching and reading, you might not recognize if your topic is too broad or narrow.

Search terms: Look at the descriptors or subject terms to identify appropriate and alternate search terms. Be aware that different databases may use different search terms. You may need to adjust your search terms as you move from one database to another.

Don't wait until the last minute. Good resources may not be available locally. Allow yourself time for an interlibrary loan.

Select resources appropriate  for your topic. Your professor will require that you use only scholarly, peer-reviewed resources.

Search journal: If you are working on a major research project, keep a search journal by recording the databases you used, the search terms you tried, and the success of the search. This can keep you from repeating an unsuccessful search.

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.

  Databases for Education Topics

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