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ENGL 101 - Fall 2021 - Isern: Educational Barriers

Researching Educational Barriers

When to Ask a Librarian for Help

When you're not sure how to select the best library databases for your topic.

When you need help identifying search words

When you aren't sure if your source is sufficiently credible and academic for the assignment

When you've found an interesting citation but can't find the full text

When you've spent a lot of time searching without good results

When you're feeling frustrated

Research help

Questions about research, citation, login, or other?

 Contact a librarian any time!

Recommended Sources and Searching Tips


Periodicals - magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals

Subject-Specific Periodicals

  • PsycArticles - journals from the field of psychology
  • ERIC - journals, reports and other documents from the field of education

Controversial Topics

  • CQ Researcher - reports providing in-depth, unbiased coverage of political and social issues
  • Opposing Viewpoints - reference, news, magazine, and journal articles as well as statistics, videos, audio clips and recommended websites providing pro and con coverage of controversial political and social issues

eBooks - browse tables of contents to narrow your topic

Scholarly Encyclopedias - encyclopedia articles are written by experts, provide a concise background information, and are helpful for identifying narrower aspects of a topic


  • As you begin your research think about the search words you'll use.  For example, when searching for information on "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" you might also try ADHD.  Keep a list of your search words and add to it as you find new words.
  • When searching, use quotation marks to keep phrases together:  "learning disabilities'", "remote learning", "college cost"
  • If you have too many results when using the library research databases try changing the search fields.  Here's an example from Academic Search Complete that shows the search fields changed to Subject Terms.  In other words, retrieved articles must really be about that subject, rather than just mentioning the words in a minor way.  [Also note: the asterisk works as a wild card, in this case retrieving both adolescence and adolescent]

Questions for Narrowing a Topic

Get background information so that you understand all the aspects and issues related to your topic.  The Credo Reference and Gale eBooks databases, which have scholarly encyclopedia articles, can be good sources for background information.

What do you know about your topic?

What do you still need to find out about your topic?

What aspects of your topic interest you (historical, psychological, moral, economic, sociological, cultural, political, technical, physiological etc.)? 

What time period do you want to cover?  

On which geographic region or country do you want to focus?  

On what group do you want to focus?

Evaluating Sources for Credibility - North Carolina State University Libraries