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Education: EDUC 502

This guide provides an overview of resources for conducting research in the various fields of Education.

Literature Review

Education Research 502

Library Research Tips from T. Hines (

Formal academic research projects typically include a literature review.  The literature review pulls together other studies related to the paper’s research question.  Sources included in a literature review do not need to be an exact match for the paper’s research question, but they should relate to it in a significant way.  Emphasis on related studies is especially important for research that breaks new ground (see the video “Finding a Gap in the Research”).

A well researched literature review accomplishes the following:

  • Places the author’s research in the context of a conversation among researchers
  • Establishes the author’s credibility (because they are familiar with the work of other experts)
  • Introduces the reader to other relevant studies in the field

A strong literature review includes two important elements: 

  • coverage of the important studies in the field
  • a structure that organizes those studies in a way that the reader will find meaningful

To help build a meaningful structure, some specialists in teaching academic writing recommend constructing a matrix like the one below:

Literature Review on Parent-Teacher Relationships for Students with ADHD



History of Phenomenon/Underlying Causes

Impact on Students’ Academic Achievement

Strategies for Teachers/Administrators

Source #1




Source #2




Source #3




Source #4





Subcategories will vary according to the material you are organizing.  Popular categories for literature reviews include:

  • Chronological – studies from similar time periods presented together
  • Thematic – studies on very similar research questions presented together
  • Methodological – studies that employ similar methods presented together

Research Tips

  1. Finding resources listed in another work
    1. Books –
      1. Copy book title into search box and find the nearest library or ILL
      2. Interlibrary Loan –  --Interlibrary Loan, under “Services”
    2. Articles –
      1. Copy article title into search box
      2. Open full-text, Find It! at Longwood, or Interlibrary Loan
    3. Chapter in an anthology –
      1. Copy book title (not chapter title) into search box
      2. Find book in the nearest library or ILL
    4. Article from conference proceedings
      1. Try – use the title of the conference proceedings
      2. Try – use the title of the article or presentation
    5. Dissertation – Dissertations and Theses Full-text
      1.⇒”Databases A to Z” ⇒Dissertations and Theses Full-text
      2. Copy dissertation title into the search box


  1. Finding resources using keyword searches
    1. Books –
    2. Articles
      1. ERIC for education and counseling in an educational setting
        1.⇒”Databases A to Z” ⇒ERIC
      2. PsycInfo for psychology (including educational and counseling applications)
        1.⇒"Databases A to Z” ⇒PsycInfo
      3. JSTOR for education including current titles
        1.⇒"Databases A to Z” ⇒JSTOR


  1. Finding tests and information about tests
    1. PsycTests for actual test instruments
      1.⇒"Databases A to Z” ⇒PsycTests
    2. Mental Measurements Yearbook for reviews of tests
      1.⇒”Databases A to Z” ⇒Mental Measurements Yearbook
    3. PsycInfo for studies that employ specified test
      1.⇒”Databases A to Z” ⇒PsycInfo
      2. Search in ERIC using the title of your test, e.g., “ADHD Rating Scale IV”