School of Education Research Resources: Searching

Topics vs. Research Questions

Basic Search Strategies

Searching Multiple Databases

When you're searching for information related to teaching and learning, a simple trick can enable you to search multiple EBSCOhost databases at once, thereby maximizing your time spent searching. 

The simplest way to do this is to start at the database Education Research Complete. Just above the search box, click on "Choose Databases by Subject" (highlighted below). 

A screenshot of the databases search box

From the list, choose the box next to "Education" and then click "OK." 

Now, you'll search a collection of education-related databases at the same time, with any duplicates automatically filtered out of your search results. 

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

One term you may hear is "systematic review" - but what is that? How is it different from other literature reviews? The video below will go over some basics about this approach to evidence synthesis. 

Developing Keywords

Advanced Search Strategies

Brainstorming keywords and creating sophisticated search statements is a great way to get relevant search results. But there are some other techniques you can use to create even better search statements. 

Truncation: Truncation can simplify your search and even help to catch keywords you may not have thought of. Truncation shortens a word to its root to catch variants of the root word.  Let's say that your search statement included the word child. Searching for child* would bring back results including child, children, child's, children's, childlike, and childless. While not all of these would be relevant to your search, the majority of them are. Truncation can be used only at the end of a word. Some terms are more appropriate choices for truncation than others. For example, searching for vet* would bring back vet, vet's, veteran, veteran's, veterans, veterinarian, veterinarians, veterinarian's, and veterinarians'. If you were interested only in research on veterans, veteran* would be a better truncation than vet*. 

Wildcard: Sometimes you want variations of a word, but the variations happen within a word and not at the end. In this case, you'll want to use a wildcard, usually a question mark, to indicate that variations of a single letter are acceptable. For instance, searching for wom?n will bring back results with both woman and women. The wildcard is useful when the singular and plural forms of a word are changed within the word, or when different English variants may have slightly different spellings. 

Quotation marks: When your search includes a phrase, pay attention to your results list to see if the database is finding results with the phrase only, or if it is separating the parts of the phrase and returning results that don't seem relevant to your topic. For instance, you may be interested in sensory processing disorder, but in your results, you notice than in addition to articles on sensory processing disorder, you've got results on other disorders or sensory conditions because the database is searching for your terms individually as well as together. To avoid this problem, you can put quotation marks around the phrase you're searching for in order to find only those terms together in that order: "sensory processing disorder." 

How to Find and Check Out a Book

Join Moose, the therapy dog at Cook Counseling Center, as he finds and checks out a book at Newman Library.