Education Literature Guide

Ebsco Tips

Ebsco's Search Engine.  This is the search engine linked to Education Index Full-text, Education Index Retrospective, Academic Search Complete, and Business Source Complete. Ebsco provides only a single column, three-row f search entry. To clarify intent, terms can be linked with “and”, “or”, or “not”. 

Do not check the box labeled “full-text” as you will miss most of the material available online at UC and find only the content we buy from Ebsco.  Ebsco indexes, i..e., points to, more content than that which they sell in full-text.  UC buys all of Ebsco's education full-text content and much more full-text from other vendors.  Everything UC has purchased is seamlessly linked and findable via the UC-eLinks yellow button. 

For example, a broad subject search for empirical studies on writing instruction in K-12 schools might be:

Row One: TX (All Text) = “writing instruction”
Row Two: TX (All Text) = “empirical study”
Row Three: TX (All Text) = K-12

Ebsco is not as granular as other search engines, such as ProQuest, in that it does not permit searching by more specific fields such as Methodology or Tests & Measurements. 

Better results occur when phrases are placed in quotation marks.

ERIC.gov Tips

Use the Advanced Search engine for the best results.

Advanced Search lets you refine your search by: keywords, title, author, descriptor, source (i.e. journal name), ERIC Accession Number, ISBN, institution, sponsoring agency, publisher, date range, peer review status and more. 

Browse by Topic using the Thesaurus. Index terms, referred to as “descriptors,” are assigned to every item in the ERIC database.  Click on “Thesaurus” from the ERIC homepage.  Here you can browse alphabetically, by category or search by descriptor. 

Find Effective Keywords using the Thesaurus.   First think of your question in your own words.  Enter those words into the thesaurus search engine to see if there is a descriptor that matches your words.  If not, ERIC will provide suggested words.  For example, to find articles and documents about tests that measure attitude, enter "test* attitude."  The asterisk picks up both singular and plural.  The results indicate two descriptors: "Attitude Tests 1966_1980" and "Self Attitude Test." 

Refine Your Search.  Click on the ERIC Search button to launch an ERIC search from the Thesaurus. ERIC will automatically create a search using the descriptor, but will first give you the opportunity to refine the search by presenting the advanced search screen with its many limiter options.

Once the results appears, you will have another opportunity to narrow your search by author, publication, dates, audience, educational level or additional descriptor.

ProQuest Tips

ProQuest.  This search engine is used to find sources indexed in PsycInfo, ERIC, Sociological Abstracts, Social Service Abstracts and many others. ProQuest provides a three-row search engine.  The first row limits term entry to one, the second and third rows permit entry to two similar/synonymous terms.  To clarify intent, rows can be combined with “and”, “or”, or “not”. 

Do not check the box labeled “full-text” as you will miss most of the material available online at UC and find only the content we buy from ProQuest.  ProQuest indexes, i..e., points to, more content than that which they sell in full-text.  UC buys full-text content from many publishing vendors.  Everything UC has purchased is seamlessly linked and findable via the UC-eLinks yellow button.   The UC-eLinks button does not appear until one clicks on either the Title or the Citation/Abstract link from the Results page.  This displays the individual item record together with other navigation tools such as finding full-text or sending to citation management software (i.e., RefWorks).

A sample subject search for empirical studies on writing instruction might be:

Row One: AB (Abstract) = “writing instruction”
Row Two: AB (Abstract)= “empirical study”
Row Three: AB (Abstract)= “K-12"

Depending on the selection of databases to be searched, ProQuest can be very granular.  For example, in PsycInfo, one can search for a Methodology or Tests & Measurement instrument.  To see all fields that are specific to a database, such as PsycInfo or ERIC, it is necessary to change the selection of databases to only one.  For example, when selection is changed to only PsycInfo, you will see a more expanded list of limiter choices, including Methodology.  Similarly, when selection is changed to only ERIC, you will see a different list of limiter choices, including Education Level and Target Audience.

Better results occur when phrases are placed in quotation marks.