ERIC Tutorial for FirstSearch
This guide will help you to use the ERIC and Education
Index databases to find journal articles on historical research, ethnographic
research, action research, evaluation research, and more.
What is ERIC?The ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) database is the major tool for research articles and documents dealing with education. It covers all areas of education and is one of the most comprehensive (coverage from 1966 to the present) and widely used tools for finding education-related information. ERIC is available in a variety of formats including paper and the World Wide Web. Web access to ERIC is free, but limited to fairly simplistic searching. Through the Curriculum Resources Center and the Mabee Library web sites, Washburn students and faculty have access to the web-based ERIC subscription database. Washburn students and faculty may also access this database from an off-campus computer. Select here to search the ERIC database.
ERIC does not provide access to everything published or written about education. ERIC is selective in its coverage; it picks and chooses what it thinks is most important. Therefore, you will need to search Education Index and perhaps other electronic databases such as Expanded Academic ASAP, Dissertation Abstracts, or PsycInfo to cover educational topics.
Thesaurus of ERIC DescriptorsBefore conducting a subject search, it is best to check the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors. When the ERIC Clearinghouses select items for inclusion in ERIC, they identify which topics each item is about and assign a descriptor for each identified topic. There is a list of descriptors from which the ERIC clearinghouses must choose, and if you want to do subject searches, you should try to use words found on that list. ERIC's list of descriptors can be found in the ERIC thesaurus. This thesaurus is available in print form (Mabee Library Index L11 .A1 R4 1995 Terminal; an older copy may be found at the CRC near the public terminals) and as part of the online database. Click on the Subjects icon to search for terms in the thesaurus.
Advanced SearchingThe Advanced Search screen lets you construct complex search statements; you will need to conduct advanced searches to find your research articles. Up to three search strings and three indexes (a searchable file of terms) can be combined using Boolean operators ( AND , OR , and NOT ) selected from drop-down menus. When conducting a subject search, these are the index labels you will want to use:
search both the singular "report" and the plural "reports"
identifies Mabee Library as holding this particular document or journal
(this doesn't always work)
Sample Searches and Results
Other strategies you might try: