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SED 220 - Exceptional Children

This guide is designed to assist you in locating the sources needed for the literature review assignment.

Connect to the Zondervan Library

Goals for this class session

Goals for these two sessions are:

  • Understand the difference between search engines and databases --- how does Google/Scholar differ from proprietary databases. 
  • Utilize the academic sources that achieve the best results for this class assignment.
  • Hands-on exploration in Academic Search Premier (general database), ERIC, LexisNexis (education law resource) databases. Where to search.
  • Introduction and practice: Boolean and Subject Searching.   How to search using Boolean and subject searching.
  • Tips for finding precise, relevant academic articles.
  • Discuss and apply principles of proper APA citation format.

Understanding Databases

Proprietary databases to which Taylor University subscribes have distinctive differences from search engines such as Google or Google Scholar. A database, generally, is a collection of information organized to provide efficient retrieval of subject matter, specifically scholarly subject matter. They tend to be narrower in scope than Google or Google Scholar. 

Prominent features of proprietary databases generally:

  • Cover specific discipline area(s.)
  • Include academic (peer-reviewed) articles from journals or magazines, electronic books, newspapers, images and research related resources.
  • Provide citation information or full text to what may be included in the text of the article (a works cited or bibliography.)
  • Are subscriptions for which Zondervan pays. Whereas Google is free some databases are thousands of dollars per year.

Zondervan Library subscribes to over 75 research databases that contain journal, magazine, and newspaper articles on both general and specific disciplines. There are pros and cons for each option. Awareness of the content, organization, precision of search capabilities can save you time and yield the most appropriate and relevant results.

For more information see What is a library database? (Western Oregon University)

Linda's Recommendation for the Best Starting Point

Reference resources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and biographies) may be found in both print and online formats. This is often the best place to get started when trying to determine a good research topic. You will find an overview or summary of the topic or issue along with key words, legal cases, and other information. These reference sources are not considered primary sources but they will frequently lead you to excellent primary sources that you can use.Here is one good starting point.

Beginning Steps

There are many places to start your search. I will use as my example the research question:

What does the literature say about different strategies for  teaching hearing impaired children in an English as Second Language elementary classrooms in the United States?

Here is a search strategy that I recommend for beginning your search, no matter what your topic might be.

1. CREDO  

In the search box: "hearing impaired" "teaching strategies" "english language teaching" 

Another search might be: "hearing impaired" international children

Why did I include quotation marks around "hearing impaired"? This connects the two words into a phrase so I am not searching hearing OR impaired but "hearing impaired" as words right next to each other.

Next, carefully review the results. There are a couple of excellent articles that give you necessary background information as well as citations for some key resources in the bibliography at the end of the article. Note the options on the left side of the screen. You can also follow through to the links to Google Scholar and JSTOR using the same search string.  Academic Search Premier, however, yields no resuts. That is because you will need to employ Boolean searching of multiple search boxes mentioned in another box on this page.  

The number of words in the article may be important as you decide on which articles to read. Longer articles will have more than a quick defiintion and may provide additonal key information and terms and names of experts in the field of study of that topic. Also when using articles in CREDO or any other source you can use those sources to find additional ones as well as items that have used this article as a source. This is an important way of gathering all of the necessary information you need for a literature review. 

2.  WorldCat Research Station--Advanced Search.

Using the pull down box you may wish to choose Libraries Worldwide for a comprehensive search or If you want only what to find only what Taylor has access to or owns,  you may change the pull-down menu to limit only to Taylor. When using World Cat Research Station you should know that you can employ two kinds of searching kw: or su:

For example:  kw:children  "hearing impaired" "english as a second language" 

Using kw:  or su: is important in locating the best resources. After you have determined the search words you can choose to limit by formats, language and dates.

HERE IS A TIP: When you narrow by date using the facets on the left side you will only be able to search one year at a time. Since your assignment specifically limits searching to the last 5 years you might employ the Advanced Search option to limit by a range of dates. In that way you can search from 2010-2014 in one search along with the keywords you have selected.

In WorldCat Research Station as well as other databases subject searching (su:) gives even more precise results. . When you find articles that are specifically about your topic scroll down to the end of the article and note the subjects. For example: Deafness in children; Deaf children or Hearing impaired children.
3. Search Databases
Each databases will yield different results because the discipline and focus is different. While there may be some overlap be sure to search more than just one or two.  Be sure to search using a variety of terms and subjects. Keeping a list of terms and the many variations will help you as you survey the literature.