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Education - Research Approaches and Materials

For all education students - Introduction to how to find educational research, teaching materials and key Alberta Education resources

The "Boutique" Approach

The 'boutique approach' can make it easier to find the specific information you want. It involves searching:

  •  the library catalogue (a.k.a. the classic catalogue) to find books (including ebooks)
  • subject specific journal databases for articles. 
    • ​To find Education databases, click on the work Databases beneath the Library Search Box. Then select Education from the dropdown list under 'All Subjects'. The most comprehensive Education database is called ERIC, which is linked below.

Tips for Successful Database Searching

• Limit your search to peer-reviewed articles, if required by your instructor

  DON'T limit to full-text within any particular database, since links between databases will often find the full-text elsewhere. 


Start with fewer search terms and then add more to narrow or expand:

AND”    Narrows your search -  gifted AND "ability grouping" 
“OR”     Broadens your search  - differentiation OR "differentiated instruction" 
“NOT”    Eliminates certain  terms - economic NOT social


Find the right vocabulary by using tools often provided by databases, such as:

  •  the 'subject headings' assigned to promising articles  - watch demo
  • 'narrowing' suggestions or ‘suggested topics’  - watch demo of this technique
  •   lists of 'authorized' subject terms (sometimes called a thesaurus) - watch demo


Search database fields that will give you the most targeted results

Default search – this ‘keyword’ search is where you'll begin. 

Subject field - once you've identified authorized subject terms, search this field

Title field - can be an effective way of limiting to relevant articles, especially when vocabulary in the field is changing



Navigating EBSCO databases (including ERIC)

This pdf file has screenshots from an EBSCO database called Academic Search Complete, an interdisciplinary journal database.  It'll help remind you 'where the buttons are', as you navigate any EBSCO database, such as ERIC.