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EDU 225: Human Development & Learning

Students working on laptops in mezzanine.Forming your Search String

The more complicated your question, the less likely a search engine can understand it. To get the best result, identify keywords and like terms to create a search string.

Example education myth: We remember 10% of what we read 20% of what we hear 30% of what we see 50% of what we see and hear 70% of what we discuss with others 80% of what we personally experience 95% or what we teach others

Example research question: How does passive versus active learning activities impact recall of new information?

Keywords: Passive learning activities, active learning activities, recall

Like terms can include synonyms and also examples of your keywords. If you don't get results from searching your keywords, it doesn't mean that the research doesn't exist. It could mean that the researcher used different language to describe the same topic

  • Passive learning activities: reading, listening, watching, passive learning
  • Active learning activities: speaking, writing, discussion
  • Recall: recognition, retention

Search strings connect your keywords and like terms together for the best results.

Too many results? Use AND to narrow results

Passive learning AND active learning AND recall

Too few results? Use OR to broaden results

Passive learning OR reading OR listening AND active learning OR discussion OR writing AND recall OR recognition

students reading in front of periodical display

Also known as peer-reviewed articles, scholarly articles are sources that are:

  • written by experts in the field
  • reviewed by other experts in the field (hence the peer-reviewed)
  • intended for an academic audience

While you can find scholarly articles through general search engines, databases contain a feature where you can narrow your results to only scholarly articles.

Find Subject-Specific Articles:

Find Articles in Multidisciplinary Databases:

Student thumbing through a book in front of library stacks

Books and eBooks often provide a broader overview and cover more information than a scholarly journal article.

You don't need to read an entire book to use it in your research. Use the index at the back of a book to find the information you need.

To find books and eBooks, you can either:

  • Search the NOBLE catalog
  • Browse the stacks for a book related to your topic
  • LA - History of education
  • LB - Theory and practice of education
  • LC - Special aspects of education
  • LD - Individual institutions - United States
  • LE - Individual institutions - America (except United States)
  • LF - Individual institutions - Europe
  • LG - Individual institutions - Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands
  • LH - College and school magazines and papers
  • LJ - Student fraternities and societies, United States
  • LT - Textbooks 

For a detailed subclass list, see the LOC Classification outline.

Quick Way to Cite

Screenshot of Cite box on EBSCO database showing a formatted MLA citation that you can copy and paste

If you found an article on a database, look for the Cite button to get a formatted citation for your Works Cited, in less time than it takes for EasyBib to load.

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography contains a list of your sources in APA format, followed by a 1-2 paragraph note with a summary of your article and information pertinent to your research.

For information and examples, check out Purdue OWL's examples.

If you find an article or book that you can't access, don't pay for it! Instead, submit an Interlibrary Loan request, and you'll receive articles within a few days!

Are you looking for a specific article, like an article that you found referenced in a bibliography? Search for the journal in Journal Finder, linked below: