Quick Guide to ERIC Searching

Quick Guide to ERIC (via EBSCO)
Access the ERIC database: From Penfield Library's homepage, choose Research Guides by Subject, then
Education, and finally ERIC. Off-campus users will need to enter your computer account information
(Laker Net ID) when prompted.
Note to researchers: There are different journals and different coverage in Education Research
Complete. Use both for most comprehensive research.
Performing Your Search:
1. Search screen
Advanced search will open automatically and is the best search option.
2. Beginners-Using the keyword ("select a field") option, enter search terms chosen for your
keyword searching topic and begin your search
2b. Advanced
Searching-use "descriptors"
for more precise
Before searching, identify relevant subject headings ("descriptors"). To do this, click
on the Thesaurus button at the top of the page. You can now browse the ERIC
Thesaurus, where you find the "controlled vocabulary" that focuses your search.
Enter your subject term or synonym in the browsing box and click on browse. Click
on a blue link of interest to see suggested options and a definition. (Note: new
terms may not be included here--search them as keywords.)
Return to advanced search and enter the terms you have found, exactly as they
appeared in the thesaurus. Choose SU descriptors from the menu provided to the
right of the search box.
3. Phrases
" " require adjacency-- example: "portfolio assessment"
Without quotes, terms will be searched individually with AND assumed
author: to locate more articles by a known author
accession number: use the EJ# or ED# to go directly to a specific source’s abstract
source: to find articles in a particular journal
4. Other Search
5.Limit as desired
These fields may be used alone, or combined with subject terms using multiple
search boxes. For example, curriculum development as a descriptor AND Maina as
an author will result in a list of articles and documents on that subject by that
At the bottom of the advanced search screen you will see many limit options. Here
are a few of the most useful: Date, Journal or Document, Publication Type (for
primary research, choose "reports - research").
Note: It is strongly recommended you do not choose full-text or "peer reviewed"
6. Combining
Use Boolean logic to combine terms for searching, use:
and to require that both terms are included, making your results more precise.
(intelligence tests and children) [and is assumed when you add limiters—see #5]
or for results with either term, making your results more comprehensive.
(adolescen* or teen*)
not to exclude a term. (disabilities not mainstreaming)
7. Begin search
Click on search
Barbara Shaffer, Education Librarian 9/10 http://www.oswego.edu/~bshaffer/eric.html
Selecting & Retrieving Results:
8. Save Desired
The result of your search is a list of brief records organized by relevance. Click on the
“add to folder” link under any title to add that item to a select list, helpful for
focusing on only those articles of interest.
9. View Folder
On the right of the screen you will see your folder list develop, with a Folder View
link to click for the full list.
10. Detailed
Click on each title to see the full citations and abstracts, or hold your mouse over
the magnifying glass for brief information. These sets of information are called
records. Find articles with similar content by looking for relevant
subjects/descriptors for further searches.
In "folder view" you will find buttons at the right of your screen to save the desired
11. E-mail -- Print-- records in the format of your choice. If you choose email you will get a purl
(persistent url) from which you can return to the article information in ERIC. From
there you will find a link to retrieve or search for the full-text of your article.
Caution: Formatted APA citations are available, but they differ significantly from
correct APA format.
12. Obtaining
Articles (EJ#)
13. Obtaining
Documents (ED#)
15. Evaluate
16. Search History
Print & Electronic: Look for any of these links to full text: pdf Full Text, html Full
Text, or "link to full text". This last option will search other online databases and
the library catalog. Look for a database link to an electronic version, or use the
catalog link to see whether Penfield owns the exact journal issue you need in paper.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL): If Penfield Library does not own the article you want, you
will have the option of requesting it using our interlibrary loan service. Click on the
link marked Interlibrary Loan, log on, and submit your request. You must first
register with the ILLiad system.
Non-journal documents from at least 1993 to date are usually available
electronically through a Full text from ERIC link. You can also search by ED accession
number at the website http://www.eric.ed.gov/. Older ERIC documents are
available on microfiche at Penfield Library.
Evaluate the articles and documents retrieved and refine your search accordingly. If
you have many results, you might want to try narrowing by adding a subject from
the list in the left navigation bar (click on the arrow to see a list of suggested
To return to a list of earlier searches in your current session, use the Search History
link on the search screen. From here you can also revise past searches.
Help: Excellent help topics are available in ERIC to guide you through your search, if needed.
Other features you may want to explore:
My EBSCOHost: First, choose “sign in” and create a personal account which you can access
anytime via the Internet. Then save your searches, or set up alerts that will be mailed to you
when new articles on your topic are posted.
Visual Search: A different way of looking at things! If you are a visual learner, you may want to
take a look at this option which lets you focus progressively on articles of interest.
Search Alerts: Set RSS feeds to receive notice of new articles matching your best searches.
Barbara Shaffer, Education Librarian 9/10 http://www.oswego.edu/~bshaffer/eric.html