WRTG: Education Research

IC Library Books & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

Note: While Subject Headings normally provide a "controlled" search vocabulary, in the field of Education they can seem out-of-control.  Below I have extracted those that seem most relevant to public policy debate and recent research projects by IC students.  

Education at all Levels (mainly K-12):

Education--Aims and objectives--United States
Education--United States--Aims and objectives
Education--United States--Philosophy

Education and state--United States   [government policy]
Education--Political aspects--United States
Education--Social aspects--United States
Education--Economic aspects--United States

Education--United States--Finance

Sex discrimination in education--United States
Minorities--Education--United States
School integration--United States
African Americans--Education

Hispanic Americans--Education
Educational equalization--United States
School integration--United States
Affirmative action programs--United States
Affirmative action programs in education--Law and legislation--United States
Affirmative action programs in education--United States

Education--Curricula--United States
Education--Standards--United States

United States. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
Educational evaluation--United States
Educational accountability--United States
Educational change--United States

Educational innovations--United States
School improvement programs--United States

Academic achievement--United States
Academic achievement--United States--Testing
Educational tests and measurements--United States
Achievement tests
Achievement tests--United States
Test bias
Test bias--United States
Grading and marking (Students)
Grading and marking (Students)--United States
College entrance achievement tests--United States
Scholastic Aptitude Test
Advanced placement programs (Education)

Public schools--United States  [a good heading for public policy debates about education]
Charter schools--United States
School choice--United States
Educational vouchers--United States
School discipline--United States
School environment--United States
School sports

School sports--Psychological aspects
School violence--United States

School violence--United States--Prevention

School year  [one off-target book, but may work elsewhere]
Year-round schools  [one outdated book, but may work elsewhere]
Schedules, School--United States  [one good title, but may work elsewhere]
School day  [nothing at IC Library, but may work elsewhere]

Vocational education
Vocational education--Philosophy
Vocational education--United States
Occupational training
Occupational training--United States
School-to-work transition--United States
Service learning

Higher Education:

Universities and colleges--United States
Education, Higher--United States
Education, Higher--Aims and objectives

Education, Higher--Aims and objectives--United States
Education, Higher--Curricula--United States
Education, Higher--Philosophy
Education, Higher--Political aspects--United States
Education, Higher--Social aspects--United States
Women--Education (Higher)--United States

Minorities--Education (Higher)--United States
African Americans--Education (Higher)
College dropouts United States

College attendance--United States

College choice--United States
Universities and colleges--United States--Admission
Universities and colleges--United States--Entrance requirements
Community colleges--United States

Distance education

Education, Higher--Economic aspects--United States
Universities and colleges--Finance
Universities and colleges--United States--Finance
College costs--United States
College students--Economic conditions
College sports--Economic aspects--United States
College sports--United States

College students--United States
College students--United States--Attitudes
Greek letter societies--United States
College students--Alcohol use--United States
Drinking of alcoholic beverages
Universities and colleges--Security measures--United States

College students--Crimes against--United States
College students--Crimes against--United States--Prevention
Campus police--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States
Campus violence--United States

Recommended Databases

     A disciplinary database in Education—at all levels.  ERIC provides access not only to relevant journal literature (citations for these end in a number preceded by EJ—ERIC Journal), but also to research published directly to ERIC (citations for these end in a number preceded by ED—ERIC Document. 
     Education uses its own Subject Headings, so a useful first stop is the ERIC "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to see what Subject searches will work here. This is also a helpful exercise in that once you have found the appropriate Subject Heading you can "explode" it (double click) and generate a list of related Subject Headings. "High Schools," "Secondary education," "Colleges," "Universities," "Higher Education," and "Liberal Arts" are all available here.
     Finally, note that ERIC also allows you to set the "education level" at which your topic is addressed without entering a Subject Heading like "Secondary Education" or "Colleges." Just open the "Educational Level" menu (below the search slots) and pick a single grade 9-12, "Secondary Education" (7-12), "High Schools," or "Higher Education." 
     The most user-friendly of our comprehensive databases, covering almost any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles and offering lots of full text. Use the default Subject search to find the best subject heading for your topic (and when you find a good one be sure to look at the "Related Subjects" to see if there's something even better). Note: Try running a first search on "Universities and Colleges" or "High Schools" and then look at the "Related Subjects" for an eye-opening glimpse of all the related Headings available to you (or try "High school students" or "College students").
     When you settle on a subject heading, open the "Subdivisions" link below it. Most General OneFile subject searchs produce very large retrievals and the "subdivisions" help you narrow your search to a particular aspect: "Economic aspects," "Educational aspects," "Ethical aspects," "Forecasts and Trends," "History," "Political aspects," "Psychological aspects," "Social aspects," and "Statistics," to name only a few. 
     If the best available subdivision is still too broad, open it and add your own Keywords in the "Search within these results" slot at the upper left.
ProQuest Research Library :
     Another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location." 

ScienceDirect :
     Don't be misled by the name--Science Direct also covers the social sciences, including education. Because it’s a large database with a great deal of full text, the absence of Subject searching means that your Keyword searches will often retrieve large sets of articles, many of which mention but don’t discuss your search term(s). One way around this is to limit your initial search to the “Abstract Title Keyword” field. Once you have found an article that sounds on-target, click the “Related Articles” link beneath the citation This will open a range of articles on the same topic.
     User Advisory: You can uncheck  the default search setting of "All books," which is recommended if you're looking for articles.  And if you open the "Dates" drop-down menu you'll find a much wider range of options than the default 10 year span.
     JSTOR covers a wide range of scholarly journals in most disciiplines, always beginning with the first issue of each one.  This provides 100% full text access to articles from not only the first half of the 20th century but even the 19th--and occasionally the 18th.  Be aware, however, that at the other end of the date range articles don't appear in JSTOR until at least 2-3 years after publication. 
     JSTOR offers only a Keyword search of its complete full text, so retrievals are large, but the relevancy ranking does a good job of putting the strongest matches on the first few pages.  This relevancy ranking does not weigh date, however, and will display a mix of articles written decades apart.  So if your topic is time sensitive, be alert to publication dates.
     JSTOR is excellent in the field of education--use it.  And what could prove uniquely valuable is its historical depth.  Whether your topic involves high schools or colleges, high school students or college students, you can retrieve articles from the first half of the 20th century or the second half of the 19th.  This will allow you to sample changes in education philosophy and practice over a wide range of time. (And note that you can use the Date Range limit to target, say, 1890-1920.)
     User Advisory: The academic journals covered here feature numerous book reviews, so it's a good idea to tick the "Article" limit box below the search slots so you won't be overwhelmed by book reviews on your topic.  

Project Muse :
     Although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR. LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse uses a "black box" search approach--you enter your search terms in one slot with no designated field options--but in addition to slapping in keywords, you can use the same Library of Congress Subject Headings that work in the Library catalog (see above under "Subject Searches").  This broad approach to searching tends to generate large retrievals, so it's best to be as specific as possible, but for an overview you might begin with "Blues (Music)."  And note--once you have a retrieval set, you can add more search terms by clicking "Modify Search" at the top.
     The American Psychological Association use their own Subject vocabulary (called "Descriptors"), so a visit to the "Thesaurus" below the search slots is a good idea. If you find an article on exactly what you want, be sure to check the assigned "Descriptors" on the right of the citation for more ideas about useful search terms. 
     Among the Descriptors available here are "High Schools" and "Secondary Education," "Colleges" and "Higher Education," "School Environment" and "College Environment," "High School Students" and "College Students."  Also helpful may be "Students Attitudes," "Student Characteristics," and "Student Engagement," as well as "Adolescent Attitudes" and "Adolescent Development."  
     Note: In addition to the Descriptors above, you can also set an "Age" range (below the search slots) for the subjects you enter, including "Adolescence" (13-17) and "Young Adults" (18-29).  BUT--be forewarned that these age "limits" will also retrieve articles on any age range that contains or includes the one you specify.  So the Descriptor approach indicated in the previous paragraph may allow for a tighter focus.
     User Advisory: If what you're searching for are "journal articles only" in "English," it's a good idea to check those boxes (below the search slots).
LexisNexis Academic  News:  
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed with articles in which your search terms are mentioned anywhere—first or last paragraph—or any number of times—once or ten times—use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(fracking and pollution) will retrieve just the articles in which the words “fracking” and “pollution” are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“gay marriage”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text law reviews (publishers of scholarly articles on legal issues), this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(“gun control”) or atleast7(genes and patents) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.
     Both these Ebsco databases are excellent resources for issues in education and youth culture.  In searching both take advantage of the "Subject Terms" index above the search slots where you can browse the available Subject Headings.  When you have found one, double click it for a list of related Headings that might also prove useful.  And note that you can check the boxes to select as many Headings as you like and then "add to search using or" and run the search--all without even retyping the terms back on the home page.
CQ Researcher
     A weekly publication from Congressional Quarterly. Each report (approx. 20 pages) examines a single issue relevant to American public policy, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. The non-partisan analysis always includes a "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," and "Pro/Con" section, as well as numerous charts and graphs of statistical data, maps, and a bibliography for further reading. 
     An excellent approach would be to open "Issue Tracker" on the left and look at the reports collected under the headings "Education and Funding," "Education and Gender," and "Education Issues." Also note the 2015 issue on College Rankings.
     User Advisory: The archives here extend back to 1991, and since many of these topics are time-sensitive, keep an eye on dates as you scan the reports.

     Opposing Viewpoints in Context : Go fishing in the search slot at the top and hope the autofill function steers you toward the right subject heading--or open the "Browse Issues" page and pick your topic from the extensive alphabetical list.  Once you've connected with an issue you'll be offered resources from a range of categories, including Viewpoints, Academic Journals, Magazines, News, Reference, Statistics, and Websites.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

And Don't Just Take My Word For It . . .

John Henderson (IC Social Sciences Librarian) posts a Research guide in Education.

Web Resources

Recommended Web Sites

Higher Education Research Institute: from UCLA, this site offers many reports and publications.  Under "Publications" check out the "Free Publications" section or go to the "Publications Archive" where you can run a handy Title-Keyword search. Note that some of these publications must be purchased for download, but most are free.

U.S. Department of Education: The gatekeepers of all the facts and figures you may need in your research.  In particular check the Research & Statistics section where you can access Facts about Education, where you need to click on those little + signs beside Elementary/Secondary and Postsecondary to see the extent of the information available here.

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE): The annual report is the definitive source for data about how college students spend their time, including their engagement with course work, peers, and community.  For similar information about High School students see the High School Survey of Student Engagement "News & Publications."

Digest of Educational Statistics: What it says. One approach is through the Subject Index, or take a look at the Annual Reports.

State Educational Departments and Boards: handy gateway to state education departments.

Education: Issues and Groups: from Vanderbilt University Libraries, this is an excellent gateway to a wide range of online resources.

National Education Association (NEA): A good deal of information here under Issues and Action.

Education Next: Sponsored by Stanford, Harvard, and Fordham, this site provides some wide-ranging full text, especially under Topics.

Editorial Projects in Education (EPR): Research Center: Open the Education Week tab and note the Topics index at the top.

National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education: This site also treats secondary education in the form of college readiness. Look under "Reports by Subject."

DocuTicker: Article Categories: Postsecondary Education: This Web site collects articles and reports from government agencies, NGOs, and think tanks.  

Public Agenda: A respected think tank, you can browse the research reports for both K-12 Education and Higher Education.

Rand Corporation: Education: A wide range of online issue-related documents from a leading think tank.  Scroll down to scan by year.

Brookings Institute: Education: A liberal think tank that publishes a good deal of research and policy recommendations in this field.  Also try the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institute. See in particular the Research & Commentary section.

Heritage Foundation: Education: This is a leading conservative think tank which will supply conservative public policy approaches to educational issues.  Note "Topics" at the upper right.

Cato Institute: Education and Child Policy: Conservative/Libertarian think tank with a wide range of position papers on issues in education.  Note the handy "Issues by Topic" index that allows you to target "Higher Education," "School Choice," etc.

Web Directories

     Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.  

Think Tanks & Research Institutes

Think Tanks & Research Institutes: A short collection of resources that can access these often influential contributions to public policy debate. 

The Political Web

In searching the Web you may find research and policy recommendations published by "think tanks," many of which have political/ideological affiliations.  An organization called SourceWatch can help you identify such ties and alert you to any political agenda the research was intended to serve.

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.