Education Research for Graduate Students

This is a guide for graduate students doing education research

Library Research Guide

How to search

You can search the databases in different ways to find materials that will be relevant for your research, including:

  • Use the thesaurus to help you find appropriate search terms
  • Use "or" between search terms if you want EITHER word, "and" if you want BOTH
  • Try truncating keywords using asterisks: ethnograph* to get ethnography or ethnographic.
  • Put phrases in quotes: “professional development” “special education”
  • To find research articles, try adding the words: “research methods”, data, results, discussion, study (not all of these words will appear in every article, so try using just a few or combining them in different ways.) 
  • Try adding a keyword for a specific type of methodology -- quantitative, qualitative, ethnography, "case study", etc…
  • PsycInfo allows you to specifically limit to quantitative or qualitative research articles
  • Look for a limit for scholarly journal articles or peer-reviewed articles (Peer-reviewed articles are generally considered to be the highest quality of academic research)


Once you find an article you like, also look for "cited by" and "references". This can lead you to other articles. References (also known as bibliography) are the sources your article used to inform its research. Cited by means that those articles have your article in their bibliography.


ERIC cited by and references


Getting the Articles

Many of the articles you find will be available online. If you don’t see the full text on the database you are searching, use the Get It button to see if the full text of the article is available through another source. 



If you find a citation to something that we don’t own, most of the time we can borrow it from another library. PLEASE ALLOW YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME to do this! Most of the time you will get articles very quickly, but it may take up to 2-5 business days for articles and 5-7 business days for books (or longer if you are off campus). Click on “Request an Interlibrary Loan” on the library home page or “Not available? Request from Interlibrary Loan” from the Get It menu. For more information, see our Interlibrary Services page.