Education Research Beyond Summon

Education Research Beyond Summon
Tim Siftar
June 1, 2011
Today's blog posting is an odd testament to the success of the Summon discovery layer on the Library's front page under the "Articles & More" tab that was introduced one short year ago. Despite my best efforts to present Summon as just one stop on the education research path, today I got the question "Where else can I find education research besides the Articles & More tab?" My somewhat elaborated response follows.

I’m delighted to hear that the “Articles & More” tab has gotten you started. But it sounds as though you could benefit from using a more precise search tool. Do you recall any of those I mentioned from our webinar?   How about ? What I recommend is that you start by looking up each of those articles that you already found – just paste in the author last name and some title keywords on the site.  Then a few options present themselves.

1.)    Observe the “descriptors” for each article – copy and paste them all into an MSWord doc. See which really descriptor terms nail your topic. Perhaps a combination of those terms captures it best?  Try searching these terms on ERIC as "Descriptors" – in the advanced search page you can use the drop down menus for each search box to specify they search only descriptors. Some of these descriptors you find on your ERIC article might have two words or more. If so, be sure to use quotes around them so they’re searched as a phrase.  Don’t be satisfied with just one search – do many and use the descriptors in different combinations. This will scour ERIC – which is really the best source for education research.  You can also use the link built into each ERIC entry to "Show related items" - that works in a similar fashion to the descriptor search I described.

2.)    Again in ERIC, you can chase the citations for each of the articles that you found. In other words, who did the authors of each of your articles cite?  For this you'll need to click through the the full text of each of your initial articles. Study the works cited, then search those Author/Title details in ERIC or Google Scholar (below) Remember there are two kinds of content in in ERIC - Documents that will probably be full text on the ERIC website and Journal articles that you'll have to get through Drexel. For full text of articles, either click through the “Find in a Library” link on the ERIC page or come back to “Articles & More” tab on the Drexel library front page and look up citations there, or with the Summon advanced search page.

3.)    Going beyond ERIC, if you’re not satisfied with the “backward” citations you find there, try looking up each article you already have using to find the “forward” citations for each. Just paste in the author name and article title in the one search box and you’ll most likely find the citation. If it's a good article, other authors will have cited it and you can click on the link “Cited by …” to see related newer articles

4.)    Also, don’t forget books – try to see what you find there.  Select the tab to search only books, and try using terms similar to those you found helpful in Summon and ERIC.  Not enough results from your keywords? Try separating your search terms with AND and replacing the last few letters of each term with an asterisk so that you get more results, for example:
+ influences of parents and cultural background on student literacy success
becomes ...
+ parent* and cultur* and literacy

Give that a try and let me know if it's helpful!


Tim Siftar