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Library research for graduate students in Education: Journal literature

Locating journal articles

A thorough search of the journal literature is at the heart of the research process. Here you will find theoretical and practical applications, critical commentary, and up-to-date articles focussing on current research in your discipline.

A literature Review summarizes  and synthesizes current research, relates current research to prior related research, and is an essential part of most research papers, theses etc

An effective review of the journal literature requires knowledge of the terminology used to describe a particular topic, as well as an understanding of the structure of individual databases. It will be worth your while to spend some time acquainting yourself with the search and limit features within academic databases including ERIC & ProQuest Education Journals. See the 990 slide presentation section of this guide for some searching tips and examples.

If you are having difficulty finding resources on a particular topic, determining appropriate search terms, or narrowing/focussing your search, please feel free to contact me to book an in-office consulation.

Parsing your research question

Before you search!

Taking a few minutes to break your topic or research question into its component concepts will be time well spent. Focus on the major concepts, ignoring for the time being, leading phrases such as "benefits of" or "relationship between." At the same time, try to identify related search terms, synonyms, and alternate spellings etc. Example:


Education-specific databases

Multidisciplinary databases

Search tips: ERIC OVID

  • Select "Map term to Subject Heading." This feature will help you identify the specific search terms used in this database
  • Enter one concept at a time. This will allow you maximum flexibility in combining terms.
  • Take advantage of the option to limit to "Peer Reviewed." This will narrow your search to research-based articles which have been vetted by experts in the discipline.
  • Set up a Personal Account. This takes only a minute, and will permit you to save and re-run searches at a later date.

Search guides

Test yourself -- ERIC OvidSP

Test your understanding with a short quiz.