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Education and Training: Basic Research

General purpose subject guide with resources pertaining to education and training.

Create a List of Search Terms (and Alternates) for Your Topic

How do I know what words to enter into the database's Search Box?

You may be assigned a topic to research or you may be asked to choose your own. Your topic will be your starting point in choosing search terms.note-taking icon

  • Types of search terms: 
    • keywords - a general list words related to your topic.
    • subject searches - words listed or bolded database lists
      • nouns - the names of something or someone -- people, things, places
        •  example - nouns for a topic in psychology: "depression,"  "bipolar disorder," "schizophrenia."
  • Make a list of main search terms 
  • Create a list of alternate search termssynonyms (different words that mean the same thing)
    • WHY? Different authors will use different terms that mean the same thing so If you can't find enough information using one search term, another
    • Consult a Thesaurus to find related or alternative words or synonyms.  

Basic Searching in Education Databases

 

list iconAs you gather background information and data keep a running list of relevant words, phrases, key concepts, and subjects you encounter to use in future searches related your specific assignment goals.   Make a list of terms and their variations. Different authors use different terms and having this list will help you cover all your research bases.

 

note iconNOTE: When searching, put quotes OR parentheses around phrases of more than one word -- "early childhood education" or (early childhood education) - to search for the phrase instead of the individual words separately.

 

Examples:

  • preschool; preschooler; preschoolers; pre-K;
  • infants; toddlers; (early childhood); "early childhood education"
  • students; learners; kindergartners; (elementary students); "middle-school students;" (high-school students)
  • (online education); "distance learning); (hybrid classroom)
  • STEM; STEAM
  • teachers; educators, "teacher assistant;"
  • assess; assessment; assessments; (outcome-based education); competencies;

Advanced Searching

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Boolean Search

Combine search terms. Use the Advanced Search tool with multiple boxes.

EXAMPLES:

  • play AND learning
    • finds results with both search terms
    • narrows results
  • (diversity OR difference) AND education
    • finds results for either search term specific to climate change
    • place the OR terms in parenthesis as a signal to the database to search variations on the similar concepts
    • expands results
  • course AND delivery NOT mail
    • finds results for course delivery and eliminates results about mail delivery

                serach icon              Advanced Search Strategy - Truncation

EXAMPLES:

  • educat*
    • finds articles than contain words beginning with the root "educat" - educate, educator, education, educating, etc.
      • efficient search strategy -  do one search rather than many

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