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Conducting Research in Education

This guide provides tips on conducting education research. See also online tutorials and handouts , including Finding Education Information in Online Databases ; Educational Assessment and Tests ; Finding Educational Standards ; and Peer-Reviewed Journals .

Books, Videos, and Government Documents :: Journal Articles :: Peer Reviewed Journals :: Interlibrary Loan :: Theses and Dissertations :: Statistical Information :: Research Methods Materials

Books, Videos, and Government Documents

To find books, videos, and Government Documents, use Quest, the online catalog.  You may search in several ways, including author, title, subject, and keyword.  Use Guided Search for tips on searching.  Quest also allows you to check your Library Account and Course Reserve. While Quest will help you determine which periodicals our library owns, and for what time period, it is not possible to find journal articles in Quest.  See "Journal Articles" below. Consult the online guide to Quest for more searching tips.

Government publications are often useful in education research; many of these are online. See Kirkpatrick Library's Government Information Resources page.

Journal Articles

To find education articles, it is often most helpful to use databases specifically geared to education, such as ERIC, Education Full Text, and Education Research Complete. The subject headings are especially suited to the field of education, making searching more focused.  You may also find education articles in general databases such as Ebsco's Academic Search Complete.  Connect to all databases from the Library Home Page. Find a list of all of the library's subscription databases here; a list of education databases is available here. Most of the library's databases are available from both on and off-campus; however, some are password-protected and are available only from the library. Find instructions concerning off-campus access to library databases here. Use Electronic Journal Search to determine whether the library provides access to a journal, either in its physical collection or in subscription databases. For more information on finding education information in the library's online databases, click here.

Peer Reviewed Journals

Conducting research often requires the use of peer-reviewed, or "refereed" publications, which are more scholarly than popular magazines.  Consult the guide to Peer-Reviewed Journals for more information.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is a service for library clients who need materials that Central does not own.  The library attempts to borrow these items from other libraries.  You may request books, dissertations, and journal articles through Interlibrary Loan.  MOBIUS, Missouri's consortium of academic libraries, provides access to materials in many libraries throughout the state. For materials not available in MOBIUS (including all journal articles) use ILLiad, the library's interlibrary loan system. It is necessary to register before using ILLiad.

Theses and Dissertations

Kirkpatrick Library owns very few dissertations; it is usually necessary to request dissertations through Interlibrary Loan and most often involves purchasing a copy. The library owns a copy of each thesis completed at Central; these are found on the third floor with a call number beginning with LD3429.8 C2HA.  The rest of the call number is based on the author's last name.  Because the thesis collection is not arranged by topic, but by author surname, it is difficult to browse for a particular subject and may be helpful to use a keyword search for this purpose. Example:  to find a Central thesis about reading, do a keyword search as follows: s:thesis and reading.  (You may substitute another word or phrase for "reading.") You might also want to visit other libraries to use their collections of theses and dissertations.

Two FirstSearch databases can help you find citations to theses and dissertations. Dissertation Abstracts is the most complete index to dissertations on all subjects.  This password-protected database is not available off-campus; you must come to the library and ask for assistance. WorldCat may also be used to find citations to theses and dissertations. (Remote access to WorldCat is available to current members of the Central community.) To limit your WorldCat search results to theses or dissertations, use the Advanced Search mode and set sub-type limits to "Thesis/dissertation."

Check the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations for online, full text access to many (but not most) theses and dissertations. Click here to search. Remember that you may not be able to find a thesis or dissertation on your topic and that the documents, which are often lengthy, may require a long time to load.

Statistical Information

Education research often requires finding statistical information. For international statistics, visit UNESCO's Education for All page. Global Market Information Database, while largely a business-oriented product, is a rich source of statistical information that may be useful for education research. For national statistics, see the National Center for Education Statistics' page, Education Statistics at a Glance. This page allows you to link to three very important sources: The Condition of Education , Digest of Education Statistics , and Projections of Education Statistics. Also see the NCES publication "Fast Facts" for answers to education research questions and The Nation's Report Card, the only nationally representative, continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas. ChildStats.gov provides easy access to federal and state statistics and reports on children and their families, including population and family characteristics, economic security, health, behavior, social environment, and education.   The Census Bureau has education data related to educational attainment, field of training, school costs, and school environment. The U.S. Department of Education shares the latest research findings, statistics, and information on education. For Missouri state statistics , see the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: School Data and Statistics and the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Finding Materials on Research Methods

Many resources are available to help you conduct research in the field of education. Search Quest to find books on this topic.  Helpful subject headings include: education--research; teaching--research; qualitative research; research--methodology. The following may be useful:

Alkin, M. C., ed. (1992). Encyclopedia of educational research. (6th ed.) New York : Maxwell Macmillan. Ref L901 E57 1992 vols. 1-4.

Calabrese, R. L. The elements of an effective dissertation and thesis: A step-by-step guide to getting it right the first time. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. LB2369 C275 2006.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S., eds. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks , California : Sage. Ref H62 H2455 2005.

Glatthorn, A. A. Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: A step-by-step guide. (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. LB2369 G56 2005.

Lecompte, M. D., Millroy, W. L., & Preissle, J. (1992). Handbook of qualitative research in education. San Diego: Academic Press. H62 H2456 1991.

Lewis-Beck, M. S, Bryman, A., & Liao, T.F. (2004). The Sage encyclopedia of social science research methods. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. REF H62 L456 2004, vols. 1-3.

Mauch, J. E., & Park, N. (2003). Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation: A handbook for students and faculty. (5 th ed.) New York: M. Dekker. LB2369 M377 2003.

Murphy, J., & Louis, K. S., eds. (1999). Handbook of research on educational administration. (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. xLB2805 H2864 1999.  

Richardson , V., ed. (2001). Handbook of research on teaching. (4th ed.) Washington , D.C.: American Educational Research Association. x LB1028 H315 2001.

Selected Periodicals: You might find useful articles in many journals; the following two titles are particularly strong in the field of education research: Educational Researcher and Review of Educational Research.




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