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M.Ed. Research Guide and Library Resources: Search Tips

Access to library resources for M.Ed. students.

10 Tips for Searching

  1. Search with keywords, don't use full sentences or questions
  2. Separate keywords by AND (therapy AND children AND anxiety)
  3. Pick one keyword for each concept in your topic and include each in a separate search box
  4. Don't include small words (like if, the, at)
  5. In individual databases, include synonyms separated by OR (teen OR adolescent)
  6. Put phrases in quotation marks ("high school")
  7. If you're not getting enough results, try new keywords.
  8. Check or click on "peer reviewed" if you need scholarly journal articles
  9. Unless you need an article immediately, don't check "full text"
  10. Limit results by date if you need current articles

Using OR to do an advanced search

In an individual education database, you can use OR to include similar/synonym keywords in the same search box to increase the number of results you receive. Please note, OR does not currently work well in Search@CULibraries, and searches are more effective when only one keyword concept is included in each search box.

("third grade" OR "grade 3") AND comprehension AND ("informational texts" OR nonfiction OR textbook)

keywords above placed in search boxes

Selecting keywords

Select the main concepts in your topic to use as your key concepts. Then brainstorm synonyms, broader and narrower terms, and related terms.

Example 1: What is the effect of using technology to teach math to first grade students?

table with keywords

Example 2: How do you increase third graders’ comprehension of informational texts?

 key concepts  synonyms  broader terms  narrower terms   related terms 
third graders Grade 3 elementary students    
reading comprehension   reading strategies comprehension  writing strategies
informational texts nonfiction   textbook  
      dictionary  
      encyclopedia  
 

The tutorial below provides more examples. 

Brainstorming Keywords: Tutorial. Running time: 2 minutes.

lists of keywords