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Education Research Guide: Search Tips

Getting Started

  1. Decide on a topic
  2. Have a search statement on your topic.  Pick out the main concept or keywords from the statement.
  3. Determine the length of the paper
  4. Select the appropriate databases to search on your topic

A Few Basics

1.      Basic Search

  -Type your search term or phrase in the search box.  Use “quotation marks” to search for exact phrases. You can use And, Or, Not to combine your search term in basic search.

  -Search examples:  school readiness, school readiness and children, “school readiness and children”, “school readiness” and children, (school children) and play.


2.      Advanced Search

   -There are three search boxes connecting the searches by AND, OR, NOT.  Type your search term in the first search box, and the second, and third if needed.

   -Limit your search by:  Publication date, Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals, Language, Source type, Full text, etc. depending on the database.

   -Search examples:  school attendance AND teenagers, teaching OR teacher, teaching NOT teacher.


3.   Expert Search or Command Line

            -Type your search statement in the search box.  Example:  the impact on school children and bullying.


Boolean Operators

   •AND – Narrows your search.  It looks for documents that contain all of your terms and show only those records that contain both.  Example:  elementary school AND recess

   •OR – Broaden your search.  It looks for documents that contain either keywords, or both of your terms.  Example:  teenagers or adolescent or youth

   •NOT – Narrows your search.  It looks for documents that contain one of your search terms, but not the other.  Example:  teaching NOT learning


Frequently used Field Codes

            •Author –AU (smith), AU (smith, George)   

            •Title –TI (education)     

            •Descriptor – DE (lunch)   

            •Abstract – AB (education)    

            •Document type –DT(ED for document) or DT (EJ for articles)



     •Use (*) character at the end of your root word to retrieve variant ending.  Example:  learn* will retrieve learn, learnt, learning, learners.

Subject Guide

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Rosamond Panda