Where to search
These databases are the best ones to search for education-related articles.
Refining & adjusting your search
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a perfect search - you will likely need to try a few different combinations of keywords in order to find good results. We're going to discuss two methods for coming up with additional keywords and phrases:
Second, you will need to use database limiters to meet some of the requirements for your assignments. Database limiters limit or reduce the number of results you get. The two limiters we'll focus on are:
- The date limiter - because you need to find articles from the last 10 years
- The scholarly / peer reviewed limiter - because you will need to find some scholarly articles (need a refresher on what makes an article or a journal scholarly? How about how to read a scholarly journal article?)
A few other search tips you might find handy:
- Getting too many results, or irrelevant results? Try searching for an exact phrase by putting it in quotes. (ex. "adolescent literacy" vs. adolescent literacy)
- Getting too few results? Consider alternative words or spellings (ex. I found more results when I searched for "communities of practice" than I did when I searched for "community of practice").
Finding additional keywords & phrases
Using Autocomplete Suggestions
The screenshot below is from Education Source (one of the databases that makes up Education Combo). I recommend that you put one concept in each search box, like I did here:
As you can see in the last box, the autocomplete has offered several useful suggestions. I've chosen "grades or academic performance or academic achievement" in the search below.
Using subject headings
My initial search only retrieved 17 results, so I'm going to look at the articles' subjects for ideas on how I can get more results:
Result #5 looks the most relevant, since it talks about academic outcomes. Looking over the subject headings, there are a few that we might want to try searching for:
- Luncheons (since it's the closest to our actual search)
- Other Individual and Family Services (this concept and the concepts below are broader than just school lunches, but they might help us find more useful information)
- Emergency and Other Relief Services
- Health and Welfare Funds
- Public Welfare
Even though #4 isn't quite what we're looking for, there are some good subjects listed here, which might be a bit closer to our example topic:
- Mobile food services
- Food service
TIP: Mix and match the concepts you come up with - you'll likely do several different searches. Again, this is a normal part of the search process!
Using both techniques above, I found a combination of search terms that turned out to be very helpful. I would never have predicted "mobile food services" would be a helpful thing to search for!
You can also see that this search brought up 108 results, so it's likely there are some additional good results to be found.
Using database limiters
Limiters are fairly simple to use - they are usually just checkboxes (like the peer-reviewed journal limiter in both images below) or other simple adjustments (like the date sliders in EBSCOHost).