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SPE 5626 Advanced Studies in Intellectual Disabilities: Research Resources

What Information Are You Looking For?

Creating your search strategy

Create your search strategy based on your thesis statement.

  • Think about the concepts, keywords and synonyms that describe your topic. 
  • Sample topic: How do school gardens benefit students?
    • school:    primary, k-12, high school
    • gardens:   kitchen gardens, schoolyard gardens
    • benefit:     effect, impact
  • Can't think of anything besides the words in your research statement?  Start with those you have. 
  • Searching for articles?  Most databases have a Thesaurus.  You can view recommended and/or alternate terms.

What type of information do you want?

  • Books, articles, websites? 
    • Some tools contain a mix of resources like books, articles, and websites.  Some search more narrowly. 
  • Current or historical?  Scholarly?  Qualitative or Quantitative?  Statistics?  Primary or secondary?
    • Depending on the tool, you may be able to include this aspect within the search statement.
  • Does the tool have Limit or Refine options?  Does it allow you to sort by publication year?

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Articles

What are "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" articles?

  • Written by scholars or experts on the topic
  • Content has been critically evaluated by other experts
  • Contain citations (footnotes and/or bibliography) documenting sources
  • How can you tell if an article is peer-reviewed?
    • Within the search, choose the Limit for Scholarly/Peer-reviewed.  or
    • When looking at a citation within a database, click the journal title until you reach the Publication Details.  Look for the "Peer reviewed" field.  or
    • Look up the journal title in the Serials Directory.  Look in the "Refereed" field.  Refereed = Peer Reviewed

Research Organization

A research matrix can help organize sources as you find them. Be sure to include the title of the article, a brief 2-3 sentence summary, and then any key points to note. The included PDF is editable upon download.

Education Librarian

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Jennifer Woods
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