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Education : EDF 500 Introduction to Graduate Studies

Resources, information, and news for the education profession

What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?

Peer Review is simply a process which an author(s) submits a manuscript to an anonymous community of scholars in his/her field. This "quality control" ensures the article's accuracy and significance. Primary Research articles are Peer Reviewed, though Peer Review stretches beyond the scope of Primary Research. Peer Reviewed articles are oftentimes referred to Scholarly or Refereed. 

Click here for more information about this process. 

Information Literacy

Information literacy is the ability to obtain, evaluate, and effectively use information to become responsible, informed scholars and citizens.

For more information, see UM's Information Literacy Page

Reference Materials in Print

Print reference materials are located on the main floor of Carmichael Library. Please remember that most Education reference books are classified under "L," but some Education topics fall under "B" (especially materials about testing and child/educational psychology).

Print reference sources are designed to introduce users to and to provide quick answers about broad topics. These materials are great places to begin research, but are in no way exhaustive resources. 

In today's world of technology, many find it tempting to quickly look up information online, even when doing scholarly work. Information found online is often relevant and accurate, but one needs to use information literacy skills to evaluate such sources. For example, Wikipedia, one of the most popular websites for information seekers, provides quick, easy to understand explanations of topics. However, the open-source nature of Wikipedia means anyone may contribute to any page, thus making any entry vulnerable to misinformation. 

Click here for more information on Reference Sources.

About the ERIC Thesaurus

Click here to watch a brief tutorial on using Ebsco's ERIC Thesaurus.

This tool is useful in narrowing searches and navigating concepts. 

What is Primary Research?

Primary Research

These are articles in which the authors present a new set of findings from original research after conducting an experiment, survey, interview, or a case study . These articles usually contain the following parts:

Methods: This section describes the techniques used to execute the research, including the collection of data, and the statistical procedures used. This is usually full of technical jargon, so it can be difficult for non-specialists to read.

A detailed explanation of the method is necessary for two reasons:

(1) other researchers may wish to repeat the experiments to test the findings

(2) the validity of the results depends in part on the techniques and types of analyses used

Results: This section is typically a very technical presentation of the outcome of the research. The results are usually described with the aid of tables, statistical tests where appropriate, and figures and diagrams if necessary.

Discussion: This is where the authors interpret their results in light of previous work in the area. Here the authors must convince the reader of the validity and importance of their findings. Sometimes, ideas for future or follow-up research are included.

References cited: The authors must list all the articles they cited within their own article as the last section of the paper. This is an excellent way to find citations to other related articles.

Education Databases

ERIC (EBSCOhost search) ERIC indexes education journals, the majority of which are peer-reviewed. Most of these journals are indexed comprehensively - that is, a record for every article in each issue is included in ERIC.

ERIC (Institute of Education Sciences search) Same content, different search interface.

PsycARTICLES Offers complete access to the full text of nearly 80 landmark journals in behavioral science and related fields ranging from education, to nursing, to business, to neuroscience. All full text content.

PsycINFO Offers an expansive abstracting and indexing database with more than 3 million records devoted to peer-reviewed literature in the behavioral sciences and mental health, making it an ideal discovery and linking tool for scholarly research in a host of disciplines. Some full text content.

Academic Search Premier  A multi-disciplincary resource that spans virtually every area of academic study. Contains some information on education topics and great place to start a research project.

WorldCat Local

Search the WorldCat Local catalog

Or, use the classic catalog   |   What is WorldCat Local?

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Google search tips

If you are searching in Google to find scholarship and information, here are a few tips to help you find better results.

1. Add "  " around concepts to retrieve results with the exact terms


"cooperative learning groups" and "5th grade"

2. To retrieve results from government sources .gov try this tip:

add to the end of your search in Google

"cooperative learning groups"

3. to retrieve results from education sites .edu try this tip:

add to the end of your search in Google

"cooperative learning groups"


Subjects and descriptors are ways to quickly search for items within a particular idea. All book and articles records incorporate this controlled language to  better faciliate research. While search through records, notice that subjects/descriptors are hyperlinked. Simply click on this link and the engine will return all materials with the same subject. While subjects and descriptors are essentially the same thing, library catalogs use subject headings, while most databases (where scholarly articles are located) use the term descriptor. Here are some to start your search with:

  • Education (Broad topic)
  • Teaching (Broad topic)
  • Educational leadership (Broad topic)
  • School Supervision
  • Curriculum change
  • Observation (Educational Method)
  • Teachers' workshops (Narrow topic)
  • Teachers -- In service training (Narrow topic)
  • Teachers -- Training of (Narrow topic)
  • Teacher effectiveness (Narrow topic)
  • Mentors in Education (Narrow topic)

APA: Citing your articles

Click here for a tutorial from the American Psychological Association about the basics of APA Style.

Print copies of the 6th edition of the APA Manual are located in the Reference Collection on the Main Floor of the library: Call nhumber:

Ref. BF 76.7 .P83 2010

Many databases, namely EBSCOhost, have a cite feature that generates a citation for the article you are viewing. BE SURE to check the citation for accuracy and correct formatting.

Purdue Online Writing Lab has a handy APA Formatting and Style Guide.

With a handy sample paper.