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Special Education

Breaking Up Your Topic into Keywords

 

In order to search effectively, it's important to break out the main concepts of your research question into keywords.

     Research question:  For elementary school students, what are some strategies for reading instruction in special education?

     Break up your research question into keywords that represent the main concepts:

  • Elementary
  • Reading Instruction
  • Special Education

     Search for each keyword, connected with an 'AND', indicating you want results that discuss all the concepts.  Unlike Google, databases generally search phrases as adjoining words, and in the exact order you type them:

             elementary AND reading instruction AND special education

In many databases, you will see three lines which is a good reminder to search for up to three different concepts. More than that will likely lead to little or no results.

 

  

Boolean Logic - And, Or, Not

Connecting words such as AND, OR, NOT will help you to expand or limit your search by tying synonyms and bringing together the different concepts of your topic.

EXAMPLE:

My research question: For elementary school students, what are some strategies for reading instruction in special education?

special education AND (reading OR language arts) AND (elementary OR primary)

Truncation

A search technique that allows you to search for multiple endings of root words.  The * is the truncation symbol for most databases. 

(Example: critic*  --> will find results with critic, critics, critical, criticism, etc.)