EDPS 667

Intro to Educational Research

Library Handouts for Education Students

Learn Advanced Search Technique

Learn how to revise searches for better results and how to use advanced features in ERIC and PsycINFO. A typical student completes the full series of brief videos and exercises in 30 to 60 minutes.

First review the basics with this 3 minute video

Finding the Right Words Part 1 (2 minute video)

Now practice what you learned

Use the ERIC database (link opens in new tab) to complete the following exercise:

  1. Try a search for your topic. If you don’t currently have a topic, try finding articles on the role of non-cognitive factors in college readiness. What is the first search you tried?
  2. Now look through the results and make a short list of useful words you might use in future searches. If you find any words in the list of subject words, place a star (*) next to those.
  3. Leave the ERIC database open in the 2nd tab to use for the exercise after the next video.

Finding the Right Words Part 2 (2.5 minute video)

Note: In this video we refer to the Preview link, this link is now labelled Show Abstract in the database.

Practice what you learned 2

Use the ERIC database to complete the following exercise:

  1. Try your search again using some of the search words that you wrote down in the first practice exercise. If a word was listed as a Subject word, try asking ERIC to find it only in the list of subjects. What is the search you tried now?
  2. Look through the results and find one article that looks particularly “on target” for your topic. Go to the abstract page, then select “cite to get an APA citation for that article. 
  3. Leave the ERIC database tab open to that article record and watch the 3rd (last video) below.

WARNING! "Broken" feature

The checkbox for Reports Research that is described in the following video is currently not working. If you use that checkbox, you may get zero results.

Finding the Right Words Part 3 (3 minute video)

Practice what you learned 3

  1. Go to the abstract page for the “on target” article you submitted for the last exercise. Try using the Search with Indexing Terms box on the right to execute a search that uses only official Subject terms.

    Remember that these words will be linked with AND – so the more boxes you check, the smaller your list of results. Check too many and your result could be just the article you started with! Most of the time you will check only 1-3 boxes for this type of search. If you want to use subjects that work as synonyms or alternatives, it may be better to use the advanced form so you can put these on the same line with OR.

    Which terms did you choose to combine in your search? How many articles did you find? Did some of them look useful?

  2. Try another search in either ERIC or PsycINFO. What search did you try? Did you use any of the special checkboxes?

Get Research Help

Use 24/7 live chat below or:

In-person Help Summer 2024 Mon-Thur, 11am - 3pm

Email or phone replies

Appointments with librarians

 Access Library and Research Help tutorials

Education Librarian

Profile Photo
Kate Pittsley-Sousa
Subjects: Education