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Doctoral Program - Educational Leadership: Advanced Strategies

Advanced Searching Strategies

Your previous library research sessions have reviewed library resources and services, basic search strategies for locating books, articles and dissertations, and how to set-up and use Zotero.  This session builds on that foundation.  Topics covered include advanced searching strategies with the goal of reviewing a body of literature, citation mining (using what you have to find more), and staying organized.

If you would like to review previous topics, check out the tabs above:

  • Document Delivery & My Account to review basic services such as Request it! (to have items delivered to your home), ILLiad (our interlibrary loan system - use it to borrow items from other libraries) and My Account (to see what you have checked out, renew items, and more). 
  • Books tab and Articles tab contain tutorials and links to commonly searched resources

Don't hesitate to contact us with questions.

Searching the Literature - Advanced Strategies


Advanced Searching Strategies - Remember library research is iterative and can be non-linear. 

  • Define your search topic and outline the concepts, keywords or synonyms. Consider using a:
    • Concept Map
    • Research Strategy Worksheet
  • Determine the type of information needed.  Current?  Scholarly?  Seminal/Classic?  Qualitative?  Quantitative?  "Literature Review"?  You can specify. 
  • Select a database. Who is interested in your topic?  What disciplines?  Think about searching in those discipline-specific databases.
  • Construct an Advanced Search using concepts/keywords/synonyms and the type of information you want. 
  • Tweak and repeat as needed.


These search features vary between products.  Explore:

  • Thesaurus - See how terms are defined within a database
     

    •  
  • Field Searching - You can specify in which fields your terms are searched.  What happens when you limit search terms to the TI (title) field?  AB (abstract) field?  SU (subject) field? 
    • What are the field definitions?  They differ.  See the database help screens for details.
  • Limits - Review the options.
  • Staying organized:
    • Think about using a source matrix or research log.
    • Use Zotero to capture pdfs, citations, etc. 
       

Examining what you've found:

  • Is the title scholarly?
    • Within the database 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
       
  • Review the item's bibliography for additional leads. 
    • That leads back in time to related works.  Search by book or journal title.
    • Use Google Scholar to move forward in time to see who has cited the article you have.  Cited By
       
  • What other disciplines are interested in your topic?  Consult the library databases page.  You may need to tweak your terms.  A word can have a different meaning in another discipline. 
     

Google Scholar:

  • Four reasons to use Google Scholar:
    • As a search tool, in conjunction with discipline specific databases like Education Source and ERIC
    • To find the full text of articles
    • To see who has cited a relevant article - Cited By - which can lead to more recent articles on a topic
    • Locate an article using the DOI (digital object identifer).  Enter the identifer:  10.3402/edui.v5.23417  (don't include "DOI")
       
  • Best practices when using Google Scholar:
    • Use Google Scholar via the library homepage.  Entering on the homepage will ensure you are not prompted to pay for articles to which the library subscribes.
    • Use Advanced Search to refine your search by date, author, phrase and more

Finding Dissertations

As you are researching topics you will discover a variety of literature, including articles, books, dissertations, conference reports, government documents, and more. 

If your goal is to limit your search to the dissertation literature, see the options below. 
Note:  There is not a single resource in which all dissertations are indexed and freely available.
 

ASU and other UNC school dissertations:

~  From ~ 2010 - present, search NC Docks

To find ASU dissertations:  Limit to ASU, Limit to Type, and Doctoral Dissertations.


 

Proquest's Dissertation and Thesis Open (PQDT Open) database provides the full text of open access dissertations and theses -- free of charge. 

~  Search by topic or see the other search options
~  Open Access full-text dissertations display in the search results
 


 

ERIC database -  There is a option to Limit by Publication Type and the search results will then display only dissertations.

~  Enter your topic search
~  Select Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations OR one of the other choices from the Pub Type listing.
~  Consider if you want to also select Full Text. If you do not need full text immediately, you can use ILLiad to request a dissertation via interlibrary loan.
~  The results page provides citations & abstracts.  Those available full text will have links, Full Text from ERIC.
 



WorldCat - contains worldwide library records, can Limit by Publication Type and Internet Resources

~  Search for:  Enter a topic search
Limit type to:   Internet Resources
Subtype limits:   Any Content  >>  select Thesis/dissertation from the drop down menu
~  The results page will provide dissertation citations & abstracts.  Some of the Access links will be to full-text dissertations, abstracts only, or commercial pay sites
 

 

Purchasing a dissertation is an option via ProQuest Order a Dissertation

Tutorials & Handouts

Staying Organized

When you are involved in a lengthy research project you will want to stay organized. 

Useful strategies can include:

  • Starting with a concept map to visually explore topic.
  • Using a research strategy worksheet to explore terms and strategies.
  • Keeping track of what you have searched and in what databases/resources:
    • Create a research log -- use Word or similar. 
      • It is useful to note:  database/search engine used, terms searched, etc.
      • Sample:   Library Research Log      (Template developed by Ms. Glenn Ellen Starr-Stilling)
  • Using Zotero or similar citation management software to capture citations, pdfs, create bibliographies and more.
  • Creating a source matrix which allows you to summarize key facts and then review them in summary form.