3-in-1: Searching Smarter

3-in-1 Education Articles searching is an iterative process! Expect to search, learn from your results, and then adjust your keywords and search again.

Finding the best search terms:

  • Search the title of a great article you've already read in one of article databases listed above, and then look at words used to describe it in the "Subjects" list. Search those words to find more articles like this one.
  • Don't have a great article already? Select "Title" in the dropdown and search your key word or phrase there. Check the "Subjects" listed under a couple of the best articles in your results, and then use these words in a search (Don't forget to change the dropdown to "Subjects") 
  •  Your Research Librarians are experts at finding the best search terms. Just Ask Us!

Searching more effectively:

3-in-1 search for: "science teachers" and technolog*

1.  Unpack your research question into its key components and put them in separate boxes 

                   science teachers use of technology  >  science teachers AND technology

2. Use quotation marks around phrases ("science teachers")

3. Add an asterisk (*) to the root of a word to find all forms of the word  (technolog* = technology, technologies, technological)

Results too large and unfocused?

  • Change one or more dropdown to search major words as "Title" or "Subject Terms"
  • Limit the publication date range to more recent research
  • Still too large? You may need to narrow your research question by adding another aspect.

Results too small?

  • Think of other words for each part of your topic and add them to the appropriate box using the word "OR":

                "science teachers" OR "science education"

  • Scope one of your concepts more broadly (Instead of "educational technology" search the broader concept, "technology")
  • Search a different body of literature (e.g. psychology, business). Ask Us for suggestions.

Searching for teaching strategies?

  • Try combining your keywords with "teaching strateg*" OR "teaching method*"
  • Try activities or "lesson plan*" in SU

Searching for action research done by teachers?

  • Combine your topic keywords with "action research" OR "teacher researcher*" in SU

Gray Literature

What is Gray Literature?

Gray literature is a work that is either informally published, or published by a non-commercial enterprise, such as an association, academic institution, or government agency. Gray literature includes reports, conference proceedings, research papers, dissertations and more.

Where to find Gray Literature?

Research Clearinghouses such as the Education Commission of the States provide concise summaries of findings, policy implications, and recommendations on key education issues. Search the ECS Research Studies Database or check for topics in their A - Z list.

Associations or research centers working in your area can be useful sources of gray literature. For example:

Tip: Look for tabs or links to Reports, Research, Publications or Resources.

To find more sources of gray literature, use Google (not Google Scholar)

TipAdvanced Google Search allows you to get more focused results. Use exact phrase searching, limits to geographic regions or website domain (edu, org, etc.) and more.

Not finding what you need? Ask Us!