University Library, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688-0002

Education Indexes/Databases:

Indexes and databases contain articles from academic journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. The library subscribes to more than 170 databases, covering many different disciplines. Use these to identify articles on specific topics. Many of the articles are available in full text. Find them under Articles, Indexes, and Databases linked from the Library homepage. You may access these databases from home after logging in with your last name and the first two letters of your first name (as it shows on your university records) and your J number.

Once you have chosen your paper topic, consult a librarian to see which databases are the best suited for your reseach. The following databases will be a good place to start for most education topics.

ERIC (EBSCO)

  • ERIC Journal Articles (EJ) are abstracts for journal articles from over 980 educational and education-related journals from 1966 onward. Your assignment for this class requires these.
  • ERIC Documents (ED) are abstracts for unpublished documents, such as speeches, conference proceedings, teacher-made curriculum guides and much more. Many of these are now full-text online. Older ERIC documents are also available in microfiche by ED number on the Second Floor South of the University Library.
  • ERIC Digests are:
    • short reports (1,000 - 1,500 words) on topics of prime current interest in education
    • targeted specifically for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other practitioners, but generally useful to the broad educational community.
    • designed to provide an overview of information on a given topic, plus references to items providing more detailed coverage

ERIC Search Tips:

  • ERIC uses a controlled vocabulary for its subject headings called "descriptors," so check the online thesaurus to be sure you are using the correct ERIC term for your topic - for example, "multiculturalism" is not a subject heading. Use "cultural pluralism" instead. Use "academic achievement" for "academic success."
  • Do not search more than one EBSCO database at the same time you are searching ERIC - the ERIC Thesaurus is specific to this database.
  • Scroll down the Advanced Search page to find other ways to limit and focus your searches, such as selecting only "journal articles" and/or "reports - research" to get research articles. Use these limits for this assignment.
  • Create a free MyEBSCOhost account to save preferences, organize your research with folders, and save and retrieve your search history.

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Education Research Complete (EBSCO)

Contains scholarly research and information relating to all areas of education, from early childhood to higher education, as well as to administration, policy, funding, and related social issues. Education Research Complete contains abstracts for more than 1500 journals, and full-text for more than 750 journals, 100 books, and numerous conference papers.

Even though it looks like ERIC, this database uses different subject headings. For example, Education Research Complete uses the term "Absenteeism;" in ERIC the thesaurus term is "Attendance." In Professional Development Collection, it is called "School attendance."

The limits are also different. You can limit your search to "academic journals," "peer reviewed" and "articles" only, but you may not get "research" articles. Does it say study or case study or experiment or control group or research method or similar words? That will tell you it is primary research.

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Other Education Databases

Professional Development Collection (EBSCO)
Indexes over 520 full-text journals on educational topics.
Professional Collection (Gale/InfoTrac)
A collection of educational journals picked for their relevance in the modern world for today's professional.
Sage Journals Online
Provides online access to the full text of individual Sage journals.

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Our Journal List

This is the database of all the journals we subscribe to in print and electronically. Once you have a citation to an article, go to Our Journal List to see if the Libraries have a subscription to this particular volume, issue and year of the journal you need. Occasionally the information is incorrect and/or unclear. Call us at 460-7025 if you have any questions. (Note: Some magazine and journal publishers "embargo" the latest year of electronic versions. This means that the most recent issues will not be available online for a year from their publication date.)

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To search within a specific journal, from the library homepage follow the Our Journal List link. Enter the title of the journal in the search box and click "Search". The results screen will indicate which electronic indexes contain that journal, and the date ranges covered. Click on the electronic index to search. Some databases will allow you to search within one specific journal.

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Library Catalog

SOUTHcat: USA Libraries' Catalog contains records for books, e-books, journals, CD-ROMs, CDs, DVDs, videos, and government documents held by the libraries at the University of South Alabama. It does not list journal articles.

Search tips:

  • Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("special education")
  • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (educat? finds educator, educators, education...)
  • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
  • Revise and refine your searches
  • Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area
  • Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.
  • Video tutorials of the search process are available on the library website.

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