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Special Education: Research Tips

This guide will help you find library resources and research studies on special education.

Research Tips

Are you having trouble getting good search results?  Try some of these suggestions:

Write out Acronyms

Examples:

Instead of ADHD use Attention Deficit Disorders or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Instead of ESL use English Second Language

Think of Synonyms for Your Keywords

Example:

mainstreaming -- inclusion, inclusive schools, etc.

Try using some of the suggested search terms that you see in your search results.  For example, in PsycINFO and ERIC, after you see your search results look in the left margin and click Subject.  You'll see a list of suggested search terms.

Consider Multiple Spellings and Word Forms

Example: 

disabled -- disabilities, disability, disable

Truncation: often databases will search multiple spellings if you search with an asterisk (*)

Example: searching disab* , retrieves:

disabilities, disability, disable, disabled

Enter in Different Keyword Combinations

Hint:  It's helpful to jot down the keywords you tried.  What works, what doesn't work, which database gave you the best results, etc.

Use the Database Thesaurus

  • If you're struggling with coming up with the "right" keywords for your article search.
  • If the search results aren't matching your topic.

Consult the thesaurus that's associated with the library database you are searching.  Both PsycINFO and ERIC have excellent thesauri.

Using vocabulary from a database thesaurus will help you to get more accurate search results and can help to resolve problems that come up when a search term has more than one meaning.