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Education Research Guide


Library databases are the best place to look for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles! While you can find scholarly articles elsewhere on the web, going through the library's website allows you free access to articles you otherwise wouldn't be able to see without paying.

If you're having trouble finding the full text of an article, Jones Library can make a request for the article to be emailed to you (for free!) through interlibrary loan (ILL).  Follow the steps in this guide to submit an ILL request. 

Periodical Resources

Have you ever had an assignment where you have to use scholarly journal articles or peer-reviewed articles?

Academic or scholarly journals are a type of periodical, like a magazine or newspaper. "Periodical" means that it's published on a regular schedule and not just one time, like a book. Academic journals have articles like regular magazines, but the articles are meant for academic purposes. These journals are published by academic institutions, about specific subjects, and they're focused on narrow, precise topics.

Most importantly, academic journals and academic articles are peer-reviewed. This means they're reviewed and approved by people in the same field for quality and credibility.

You can't get peer-reviewed articles in Google because the peer-review and publishing process takes a lot of money, so we have to pay to access them. That's where the library comes in! The library pays for access to databases full of scholarly journal articles so you can have access to them as a student.

We have a bunch of different article databases on different subjects (like an education database, a psychology database, etc) that you can use when you're doing research. I recommend ProQuest Central for people starting out with their research, because it has articles from a bunch of different subject areas.

Your professors and librarians recommend these library databases because the articles in them have been specifically selected for quality, which makes them more reliable than a lot of things you can find elsewhere on the Internet. This doesn't mean everything in an academic article is true! But you can generally trust an academic article more than something else that hasn't been reviewed.

When you're doing research, think about your assignment. What is your argument? What do you want to write about? These things become your search terms (also known as keywords!)

If you're writing an essay to persuade your reader that Confederate monuments should be taken down, first you'll need to break down this argument into simple phrases, like Confederate monuments and taken down. You might be able to find some results if you type in the whole sentence, but search engines work best when you break your search down into keywords or phrases.

It's also helpful to brainstorm synonyms or similar words to your important words. For example, for Confederate monuments, you could also search Confederate statues or Confederate memorials. For taken down, you could use remove or destroyed. You'll find more relevant results if you try similar words!

If you're having problems thinking of similar words, do some searches and see what words the authors of the results are using!

Once you have some keywords, try some of these search techniques to get the best results!

  • Use Boolean operators: these are words that expand or narrow your search by connecting terms:
    • AND makes sure both words show up in your search results, like "women AND girls" or "racism AND Trump." Most (but not all) search engines, like Google, do this automatically when you type something like "women girls" or "racism Trump" but you can add AND in to be safe!
    • OR expands your search results by making sure either word shows up in your search results. If you search "women OR girls," you'll get results with the word "women" in them, results with the word "girls" in them, and results with both!
    • NOT is great for narrowing your results; it makes sure the word after NOT doesn't appear in the results at all. If you search "nazism NOT Germany" you'll get results about nazism without the word "Germany" in any of the results.
  • Phrase searching: if you're looking for a phrase with multiple words, it's helpful to enclose them in quotation marks to make sure that exact phrase is found in your results.
  • Truncation: if you're searching for a term with a variety of endings, you can use an asterisk to include all of the possibilities in your results. For example, searching for child* would give you results with child, children, and childhood. (Another example is teach*: this gives you teaching, teacher, teachers, etc!)
  • Wildcard: Wildcards are similar to truncation. If you insert the wildcard symbol, one letter will be replaced with a wildcard. This is useful for words spelled in different ways, for example: wom?n would result in womenwoman, and womyn. Most often, a question mark is used for a wildcard, but this will vary by search engine.
  • Advanced Searching: Be sure to check the "advanced search" page of whatever search engine you're using! You'll have the option to limit your results by date which is really helpful if you need articles from a specific time frame (like within the past 5 years.) The advanced search page also has many different options for you to try, like searching by author or name of journal.

Peer Review in 3 Minutes 




Doing Database Research at the Library

What happens if I can't read the full text of an article? 

If you're searching for sources for your assignment and come upon an article that you really want to read, but can't find the full text, don't worry! This video demonstrates how to check whether or not you have access to the full article through the GC library (and how to request it for free if we don't have it!)

Recommended Databases

Education Resources Information Center

ERIC is an online library of education research and information including journal articles, books, conference papers, reports, and more. Many resources are full-text and peer reviewed. Provided by the Institute of Education Sciences of the United States Department of Education.


JSTOR provides access to more than 12 million journal articles, books, images, and primary sources in 75 disciplines. It will help you explore a wide range of scholarly content through a powerful research and teaching platform. Journals are always included from volume 1, issue 1 and include previous and related titles.

MasterFILE Premier

General reference magazines and publications covering a wide-range of subject areas including business, health, education, general science and multicultural issues. Includes peer reviewed publications.

Education Database

Research on primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as special education, home schooling, adult education, and hundreds of related topics.