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Education (UNH Durham)

General guide to support programs in the Dept. of Education; also includes course pages

Introduction to Course Page for EDUC 882

This guide highlights and links to information that I hope will be helpful to you in this course and in your overall program. Feel free to contact me or use our Ask a Librarian service if you have any questions about library resources and services or about your specific research topic(s).

The overall guide provides general information on resources and services for students in education while this course page provides additional information useful for your work in this course.

Tips from Your Librarian

Here are a few tips and comments that I typically share with students. Below each group of tips I'll include links to the resources or services mentioned.

About databases

  • I strongly recommend searching more than one database, especially if you are trying to be somewhat comprehensive. Different results rise to the top based on each database's content and coverage as well as how that particular search algorithm works.
  • The mix of databases to search should include at least one specialized database: for Education, ERIC is the one I'd recommend, and at least one multidisciplinary database, for example, Google Scholar, the library search box, or Web of Science. Depending on your topic, other specialized databases may also be useful.
  • A specialized database such as ERIC more easily gets you into the literature of your field, helps with learning the terminology/jargon (subject terms or descriptors) used in the field, and offers useful filters that aren't available in more general databases. A very helpful filter in the Advanced Search in ERIC (through EBSCOhost) is Education Level.
  • If you have used JSTOR in the past, please be aware that the full text for the most recent 2-5 years for many journals is not included.

Additional suggested databases are on the Articles page of the Education guide.

About searching and strategies

  • It's helpful to keep a record (even if only an informal one) of where and how you searched; what terms worked or didn't work well in specific databases, and what synonyms, related terms, or broader or narrower terms you are seeing that would be useful to try in other searches.
  • Backward and forward searching (as named in one of your readings) is a very good alternative strategy to matching search terms in a database. Following the citations among articles helps to connect ideas rather than simply matching keywords.
    • To use Google Scholar for this, you can search in GS using the title of a highly relevant article you found and then click on the "Cited by" link at the bottom of the GS entry. This connects you to newer articles that have cited the article you searched. Not all of these newer articles will be pertinent to you as authors cite articles for different purposes, but you may find some valuable and more recent literature.
    • The Web of Science database also provides "Cited by" searching from a smaller universe of journals that are more quality checked before being added to the database. 
  • If you want to keep current with your topic, you can within some databases save your searches to rerun later or set up email notifications when newer results are found in the database. Another approach to current awareness is to set up table-of-contents alerts from key journals that you have identified for your area of interest.

For a summary of different search approaches and examples, please see the Strategies for Searching page of the Education guide.

There are two short videos about using the advanced search features and the thesaurus in ERIC that will be informative. These were created by Odum Library at Virginia State University. Each video is about three-and-a-half minutes.

About getting articles, organizing your results, and citation help

  • We get an extensive amount of online full text for journals and increasingly now for books as well. However, we don't have or get everything online.
  • Interlibrary loan (ILL) is the service you can use to request from other libraries materials that we don't have.
  • Document delivery is the service you can use to request scanned copies of articles or book chapters that we have in print only.
  • Citation management software can help your productivity by (a) providing a place to store and organize the results (including full text) you are finding from various database and web searches and (b) making it easier to work with whatever citation style you are using in terms of creating reference lists and in-text citations.
  • Zotero is the free citation management software that is often used at UNH.

For more information about APA style resources as well as information on copyright, fair use, and avoiding plagiarism, please see the Citing & Writing page of the Education guide.