Finding other research studies about the key variables in your study is important for a variety of reasons.
Finding related research articles typically requires competence on the internet. To find articles, you must search through databases that have indexed information on thousands of research articles that have been conducted. (Keep reading below for some important databases for educational research.) Before going onto the internet, keep the following search tips in mind.
The following are online resources that can be used to find published academic work about education.
ERIC: Educational Resources Information Center. Eric provides bibliographic information about education-related materials written for journals, books, conferences, and other educational resources. ERIC has the full-text for some articles, but not all. (Search tip: Click the box for "Full-text Only" when searching to find entire articles.)
JSTOR. JSTOR Provides full-text articles in multiple disciplines including the humanities and social sciences. JSTOR provides full-text to academic institutions in developing countries. However, your institution must register for that privilege, and you generally must be connected to JSTOR through your institution's internet connection or have your institution's login information. Thus, if you attend UniJos, you can only get full text articles if you are connected to JSTOR through the UniJos internet connection. An internet cafe in Jos cannot access full-text JSTOR articles. However, JSTOR does have another option to access full text articles: JSTOR Shelf. If you create a MyJSTOR account, you can add three articles to your "reading shelf" and read them for free. You must keep the articles on your shelf for 14 days, but then you can remove the articles and add three more articles.
HINARI. The HINARI Access to Research Program was developed by the World Health Organization to provide access to academic literature in developing countries. HINARI provides access to the most current issues of many psychological journals, as well as journals in many other fields. HINARI requires a username and passcode, which you can get if your academic institution is registered with HINARI. All academics should be familiar with current research, so you should regularly review interesting articles in journals in your field of interest. I recommend reviewing the following on HINARI for educational researchers.
PsycNET. The American Psychological Association has a free database that searches all of the journals that they publish. Although PsycNET can help you find the titles and abstracts of some of the best research that has been conducted in the world, you will not be able to access the full text of the articles through PsycNET. Instead, read the next section for tips on accessing full text articles to try to find the actual article. When you click on the link to PsycNET above, it appears that you need to log in. However, you do not if you just want to search the articles. Look to the header "New Users" and then click on "Search" right below.
Google Scholar. Google Scholar is just like Google, but it only searches scholarly literature such as journal articles and books. If you want to use Google for an academic paper, instead use Google Scholar to ensure that you are accessing academic writings. If, after doing a search in Google Scholar, you click on the title of the article, it will take you to the website of the original publisher of the article. You may or may not be able to access the full text of the article there. However, if the full text of the article has been posted for free on the internet, it will be linked just to the right of the title.
Gutenberg. The Project Gutenberg provides full text of books with expired copyright, meaning that the book is likely quite old.
National Academies Press National Academies Press publishes reports by research organizations in the United States, including high quality educational research. NAP allows free downloads of their books for people living in developing countries. If you click on a book of interest from an internet connection in a developing country, there should automatically be a link that says "Download Free PDF."
International Academy of Education The International Academy of Education publishes syntheses of research-based educational practices. To this end, top educational scholars have written short publications that summarize well-established educational principles that are available for free on the website. Click on the Ed Practice Series or Ed Policy Series links on the website for the research reports.
African Journals OnLine African Journals OnLine is the world's largest collection of peer-reviewed African scholarly journals. AJOL has a number of journals published in Africa online, some of which can be accessed for free and others that can be accessed for a reduced rate with a credit card.
Professional Organizations. There are many professional organizations that focus on various aspects of education, such as the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Many of these professional organizations publish resources and position statements online for free that provide valuable information for educational researchers. Other times, these organizations require payment for their publications, but offer free access for a limited time. For example, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has published standards for mathematics education that can be accessed for free for 120 days, requiring only registration with an email address.
Oftentimes, it is easy to find the titles of good research articles, but then you have to pay quite a bit of money to access the full text of the article. Here are some tips to try to access the full text of articles or books for free.
When searching for related literature, a caution needs to be made about plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious, dishonest offense that can result in expulsion from the university. Plagiarism is any attempt to present another person's ideas or words as your own. According to plagiarism.org, the following behaviors are considered plagiarism:
I gave more detailed information about plagiarism, including tips to avoid plagiarism, is found in Ethical Considerations in Research.
Return to Educational Research Steps
Copyright 2015, Katrina A. Korb, All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015, Katrina A. Korb, All Rights Reserved