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MAED Action Research - Dr. Nancy Harding: Searching ERIC

Why Use ERIC?

ERIC is the premier research database for the eucation discipline and provides access to more than 1.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added multiple times per week. If available, links to full text are included.

Within the ERIC Collection, you will find records for:

  • journal articles
  • books
  • research syntheses
  • conference papers
  • technical reports
  • policy papers
  • other education-related materials

ED or EJ

In the ERIC database, ED indicates the item is an ERIC document: research reports, conference papers, issue papers, monogrpahs, and ERIC digests. ERIC indexes education-related materials from a variety of sources, including scholarly organizations, professional associations, research centers, policy organizations, university presses, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies, and state and local agencies. Individual contributors submit conference papers, research papers, dissertations, and theses.  From 1966-2004 many of these documents were made available on microfiche; ERIC has electronically archived the complete microfiche collection but can only make approximately 65% available as full-text.  ERIC will provide online access to the additional material if granted permission by the copyright owner; the microfiche set is available at the Pepperdine West L.A. campus and is available through Pepperdine Campus Loan (ask at the Research Help or Check Out desk). 

Some ED documents are books (monographs) and should be searched in the catalog to discover if a Pepperdine University library owns the book.  If not owned, you make request the book through InterLibrary Loan.

EJ indicates the item is a journal article. Use the Journals & Periodicals search on the library's website to locate journals.

Accessing ERIC

There are three ways to access ERIC:

  • directly from the government web site This site is freely available to all.  It contains links to many ERIC documents but not to the full-text of journal articles.
  • the list of library databases links to the EBSCOhost version of ERIC  This site is limited to Pepperdine University patrons.  By clicking on 'Choose databases', you can conduct combined searches with other EBSCOhost databases such as PsycINFO
  • the H.W.Wilson version of ERIC can be searched in combination with Education Full-Text.  Select Education Full-Text from the database link and then click on 'Open Database Selection Area'.  This site is limited to Pepperdine University patrons.

Tips for Searching ERIC

 There are many helpful tips and hints you can use to improve your search results. You can choose one or more searching tools that are described below. For example, you can use Boolean operators (see the tab labelled 'The Art of Searching'; control the search order; limit the search to a specific title; and/or restrict the search to a particular date range.

Note: Stopwords are commonly used words such as articles, pronouns, and prepositions. These words are not indexed for searching in the database. For example, 'the', 'for', and 'of' are stopwords. When a stopword is used in a query, any single word or no word is retrieved in place of the stopword.

 Parentheses also may be used to control a search query. Without parentheses, a search is executed from left to right. Words that you enclose in parentheses are searched first. Why is this important? Parentheses allow you to control and define the way the search will be executed. The left phrase in parentheses is searched first; then based upon those results the second phrase in parentheses is searched.

Generalized Search: kindergarten or elementary and reading

Focused Search: (kindergarten or elementary) and reading

In the Generalized Search example, the search will yield two types of results. First, results that contain the term "kindergarten". Second, results that contain the terms "elementary" and "reading".

In the Focused Search example, we have used the parentheses to control our query to only find articles that contain either the term "kindergarten" or "elementary" AND the term "reading".


Limiting a Search by Date of Publication

Using the date field (DT), you can narrow the search to a certain publication date. For example, type technology and DT 9601- to only produce results concerning technology published after January 1996. Note: If a hyphen ( - ) is used after the date, it will indicate that the search is open-ended.

You could also type: education and DT -9601 to retrieve articles containing the word "education" prior to January 1996.

Or type education and DT 9501-9512 to retrieve articles that contain the word "education" during 1995.


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