Skip to Main Content


A guide to library resources for education research

Databases With Education Resources

Where to Search

Part of deciding where to search is recognizing the differences between tools. The search scopes of Google Scholar, Web of Science, and a Venn diagram of database coveragedisciplinary database are fairly different, but also have some overlap. 

Google Scholar searches across resources from all disciplines/subject areas:

  • journals publisher websites
  • professional association websites
  • university websites
  • Google Books

Web of Science searches citations of high impact journals in the field (not every journal in the field, so Web of Science is less comprehensive in regards to discipline). 

A Disciplinary Database searches a defined set of resources, all focused in that field of research, usually this includes: 

  • journals
  • book chapters
  • dissertations

Keyword Searching

A keyword search looks for items that contain that word or phrase in the title, abstract, description, text, etc. Different writers use different terminology, so be sure to think of synonyms or similar words. If you search for student, you won't get papers that use the term learner instead. To search for both terms, you can use the OR boolean: student OR learner.
What are Booleans?
Booleans are words that are used to connect search terms-

  • OR will broaden your search by searching for items with either term: student OR learner will retrieve papers that have at least one of the words.
  • AND will narrow your results by only searching for items that contain both terms: curriculum AND active learning will only retrieve papers that include both words in the text.
  • NOT will narrow your search by excluding results that contain that term: active learning NOT play will retrieve papers that discuss active learning but not play.

Subject Searching

Subject headings are similar to tags in that they are assigned to works that are related to the topic. Unlike a keyword search, subject heading searches will find books that don't necessarily have the term in the title or abstract but are about that subject. You can think of a subject heading results list as a list of recommended books on a topic.