EDU 708 Research Design in Education: Search Tips

info question Facebook Twitter user Ask Skip the menu to the main content

Step 1: Identifying Key Concepts or Alternative Terms in the Topic

Before you can search for appropriate articles for your bibliography, you need to identify the key concepts in your research topic, and identify any synonyms or alternative terms. Let's look at the first five topics in your syllabus:

Step 1: Identify the key concepts in your research topic.

For example: Problem solving skills of kindergarten children

  Alternative terms or      
synonyms
OR  Alternative terms or      
synonyms
OR  Alternative terms or      
synonyms
Concept 1 problem solving OR critical thinking OR brainstorming
AND
Concept 2 skills OR skill OR ability
AND
Concept 3 kindergarten OR early childhood OR preschool

NOTE: Use ERIC descriptors to narrow your search results.

Step 2: Identify ERIC Descriptors and Truncated Terms

Step 2: Identify any synonyms or alternative terms. You can look at the ERIC thesaurus for ideas.

You can have more focused results if you identify the ERIC descriptors. These are the subject headings or index terms used by ERIC to locate other resources on the same topic. You can use the ERIC Thesaurus to identify terms.

You can include more alternatives if you truncate words with various spellings. For example, you can use child* to find child, children, childhood, childless, childish, etc. In other words, you use the asterisk (For example,  child* ) to look for those letters as the root or stem in other word.

Problem solving skills of kindergarten children  -- ERIC Descripters in Yellow

  Alternative terms or     
synonyms
OR Alternative terms or     
synonyms
OR Alternative terms or     
synonyms
Concept 1 problem solving OR critical thinking OR brainstorming
AND    
Concept 2 skill* OR abilit*
AND  
Concept 3 kindergarten OR early childhood OR preschool*

 

Step 3: Using the Concepts to Search in ERIC

Example 1 -- Keyword search in ERIC (CSA) using key concepts and synonyms:

 

Example 2: Using descriptors and truncated keywords to search in ERIC:

 

Scroll down for a direct link to ERIC and a video that provides additional information on searching ERIC.

Step 4: Search the ERIC Database

  Videos on Library Services and Resources

 

Library Handouts 

This page has:

- Step 1: Identifying key concepts and synonyms
- Step 2: Identify ERIC descriptors
- Step 3: Using Concepts
- Step 4: Search the ERIC database
- Still need help? See video on searching ERIC