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ED 502: Teacher as Change Agent

Search Strategies

Construct a search strategy

  • Define your research question:
    • Is your goal to 

find effective classroom management techniques for your math class?

improve the reading proficiency of your middle school students?

learn ways to teach to multiple intelligences for elementary students?

  • Identify key words and phrases that indicate solutions, such as: 
    • best practices

    • strategies or methods or techniques

    • effectiveness

    • intervention

  • Brainstorm alternate spellings, related terms, broader concepts, and more specific concepts
  • Use the subject terms in a relevant article to further refine your searching
  • Use the Thesaurus in ERIC to see what language the database uses -you may be surprised!

Select a database

  • Browse the Education databases
  • Pick 1-3 databases that look most relevant to your search- most of the databases have international coverage, so you may need to limit your results by geography
  • The Ebsco and Proquest ERIC interfaces allow you to search by educational level, audience, and type of resource
  • If your topic is broader and encompasses social aspects, you might try SocIndex to find sociological research

Test and refine your search

  • Test your keywords and phrases in each database
  • If you don't find what you're looking for right away, try some of the alternate terms you brainstormed earlier
  • Refine your search using the side menu options

Advanced search techniques

Phrase Searching

Place several words within quotes to search those exact words in that exact order.

  • "classroom management"
  • "second language acquisition"

Truncation and Wildcards

Use a symbol (usually * or ?) to search all words that start with entered letters.

  • pedago* searches for pedagogy, pedagogies, pedagogical
  • disab*  searches disabled, disability, disabilities
  •  *assess* matches preassessment, post assessment

Boolean Operators

AND searches for both terms, OR searches for either term, NOT omits a term.

  • "inquiry-based learning" AND "group work" NOT "science"
  • "teaching techniques" OR "learning strategies"



How to Analyze Scholarly Articles