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This guide is designed to help students and faculty access credible resources related to the study of education.

OneSearch (Main Library Search Box)

OneSearch - at SLCC Libraries
 EBSCO Discovery Service

Education Databases mentioned in the Library Session

Topic Development

  • Consider creating a concept map
  • Identify your key concepts
  • Brainstorm related terms

Stuck on writing a research question? Try to answer some of the following questions, which may give you a stronger focus or direction.

Five W’s Research Topic Brainstorming


  • Is there a specific group of people who are affected by this topic? (Does the group of people most affected have a voice in policy, research, or other changes that could be made? Who does have the power?)
  • Who might be invested in researching this topic? Are there other disciplines or majors that would also be interested in this topic/question (political science, criminal justice, psychology, etc.)?


  • Are you familiar with the basic concepts and background of your topic/question?
  • Are there different positions or perspectives on this topic? What proof do the different sides offer?


  • How long has this been an issue/ problem/ concern/ occurrence?
  • When will information need to be published to be of value to your topic/question? When has it been studied in the past?


  • Is there a specific geography or location that applies to this topic/question?
  • Where can you look (Google, library sources, professional organizations, local government or groups, etc.) for more information?


  • What makes this topic/question worth exploring? What are the implications of finding an explanation/answer/ solution?
  • Why are you personally interested in this topic/question?
  • Why have others researched this topic/question?


  • How do you know what you already know about the topic? Personal experience, books, classes, magazines, social media, etc.?
  • How does this topic/question fit in to a larger context?
  • How might others have researched this topic before?

Jamie's Key Research Tips

  • Gather topic and research ideas from anywhere- personal interests, news story, textbook, encyclopedia, Wikipedia, etc.
  • Primary sources present original research ("Here's what I did and what I found!"). Secondary sources interpret existing research ("Here's what someone else did and what I think about it!"). Find primary sources when possible.

    primary research presents original study findings secondary research interprets original study findings
  • Keywords represent the main concepts of your research question or topic, i.e. "What is the relationship between cooperative learning and student achievement?" the keywords would be cooperative learning student achievement
    Searching a database using keywords will pick up those words in all available areas of an item record (title, abstract, author name, publication name, sometimes full text, etc.). 
  • Databases use subject headings to create consistent terminology. Item records are "tagged" with subject headings and using them may return more relevant results.
  • Expand your search when you don't see enough results by removing a condition (removing a keyword, removing a publication date restriction) or using a more general keyword or subject heading ("zoom out" from exam score to student achievement).
  • Limit or restrict your search when you see too many results or irrelevant results by adding a condition (adding a keyword or concept, adding a publication date or peer review restriction) or using a more specific keyword or subject heading ("zoom in" from student achievement to exam score).
  • Full text and Scholarly (peer review) journals are very useful filters in OneSearch (the main search box on the library's website)
  • Ask a Librarian if you get stuck!


OneSearch Tip: Get More Relevant Results with One Click!

Want fewer results in OneSearch? Try this:

  1. After running a search, look for "Also search within the full text of the articles" in the "Current Search" box to the left of the results (shown below)
  2. Turn "Also search within the full text of the articles" off by clicking on the "X"
  3. This should reduce the number of results significantly!


How it works:

The number of fields or words the database tries to match with your search terms becomes smaller and only includes fields in each item record (Title, publication name, authors, abstract, subject terms...) rather than the entire full text of each source.

APA Sample Papers

Fall 2021 Content