Ed Res 505 – Principles of Research
• Literature reviews
• The library as a research tool and resource
– Discovery & Retrieval
• Managing your library accounts and requests
• Managing your research
• Linda Frederiksen
– Cohort Programs
- Class LibGuide
Graduate level research
• Graduate research differs from undergraduate
research because it requires:
– an increased depth and breadth of research/evidence;
– a comprehensive understanding of your subject, its
history, and the questions it raises for your field;
– presentation of your work in a professional, scholarly
writing style, using the citation format required for
• Literature review
– Demonstrate command of subject area and
understanding of the problem; justify research
topic, design and methodology
Use review papers first, scan bibliographies, do citation tracking
If you have identified a lot of literature, and know that there is even
more to uncover, it may be the case that your chosen topic is simply too
broad. Consider limits: a particular influence on your main theme, a
time-limited treatment. Also remember you will need to be justify your
decisions in your thesis.
Switch from “historic” search to “current” search
Build safety nets with alert services
You will reach a stage where you switch from building your literature
review in an emergent fashion, to enhancing its content through
additional of material from directed reading
• Formulate a viable and relevant research
• Select the most appropriate research terms and
• Evaluate the scholarly merit of sources against a
set of supportable criteria
• Ethically and legally use information to support or
refute your research hypothesis
• Validate understanding and interpretation
through discourse with other experts and
Common Lit Review Errors
• Insufficient time allowed to define best search
strategies to use – too hurried
• Problems with selecting and using most relevant
keywords and descriptors
• Lit review findings not clearly related to the
researcher’s own study – too general
• Relies too much on secondary sources rather
than primary sources
• Accepts another researcher’s findings as valid
rather than examining with own eye
• Search procedures in lit review not reported
• Isolated statistical results are reported rather
than synthesizing the results
• Contrary findings and alternative
interpretations are not considered or
How to conduct a lit review
• The same way you will conduct your primary
– Problem formulation
– Data collection
– Data evaluation
– Analysis and interpretation
Literature review of your topic
• Some of the questions a lit review can answer
– What are the key sources?
– What are the key theories, concepts and ideas?
– What are the major issues and debates about the
– What are the
political, social, economic, technological aspects
of your topic?
– What are the origins and definitions of your topic?
– How is knowledge on the topic organized?
– What are the main problems that have been
addressed to date?
The search begins - selecting and using
• Discovery Layer
• SearchIt, Summit, WorldCat
• Review of Educational Research
• ERIC, Education Full-Text, Ed Admin Abstracts
• PsycInfo, SocAbtracts
• Dissertations Abstracts
Selecting and using search terms
KEYWORD AND DESCRIPTORS
ERIC descriptors that may be of use as you conduct a literature review on a subject
Bibliographies Literature Reviews Meta Analysis
ERIC descriptors can also be used both to find research studies using a specific method
of inquiry, as well as studies of the research method itself. For example, you may
use any of the following descriptors to locate materials related to a specific
Case Studies Ethnography
Field Studies Focus Groups
Interviews Participant Observation
Qualitative Research Statistical Analysis
Click on the “SearchIt” link from the Library’s
You will be asked to login. If you have a WSU
Network Id and Password, login using the WSU
login selection. If not, use the guest login.
Type the title of the journal into the WSU
Libraries search box.
Select WSU Vancouver from the drop down
box and click “Search”.
If we own print and online versions of the
journal, there will be at least two entries for
the journal on the following screen.
Follow links in SearchIT to determine if we own
the exact issue needed
Click on the “SearchIt” link from the Library’s homepage.
You will be asked to login. Login using your WSU Network ID and
Click on “My Account” in the upper left corner of the screen.
The list of items that you currently have checked out will display.
This list will include items from all WSU libraries, Summit Libraries
and InterLibrary Loans (items requested through ILLiad).
You can renew your WSU and Summit library items from this
screen. InterLibrary Loan materials need to be renewed separately
by emailing a request to email@example.com.
“My Account” also allows you to do other things like look at items
that you have selected to put on your e-shelf and confirm your
email and mailing addresses. Follow the directions on the screen.
Managing your research
– Citation management programs
• Zotero And more
– MIT Libraries citation management comparison
chart available at:
• Keeping current
– Database alerts
– TOC alerts: http://www.journaltocs.ac.uk/
• Citation management
– Checklists and rubrics
– Literature Review Checklist
– Other resources