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EDSE 692 Seminar in Special Education: Home

Guidance for finding literature for your thesis project.

Welcome Qualitative Researchers!

This research guide will provide tips and tricks to help you collect literature (mainly articles) on the special education topic of your choice, for your thesis / literature review.

Topics covered in this guide include:

Education Databases to search

Gathering your articles

Types of articles

Info for elearners


Using Google Scholar

Set up your Google Scholar preferences

Search Google Scholar





Tutorials on APA style and paraphrasing

APA style examples

Style guide


Education Databases to Search

Gathering your articles

In order to retrieve the full spectrum of articles that are being written on your topic and understand it more fully you will need to develop a search strategy. 

It takes a little bit of time and "pre- search" before your research but it is helpful if you can brainstorm your search terms.  In this type of research, the words you use as your search terms is crucial to the results you gather. 

Types of articles

When conducting database searches in education, there are (generally) 5 main types of articles you will come across:


1. Empirical Research study

This is an article that describes the research that the author conducted on the topic.  You will know it is an empirical study you are reading if it includes a Methods and Results section.  Most empirical studies will also refer to the paper itself as a "study" usually in the abstract.

2. Literature Review

Some articles are all about reviewing the work of other authors on a topic.  This type of article can be valuable for understanding the history or scholarly dialogue on an issue.

3. Theoretical Work

Some articles describe a theoretical viewpoint, for example feminist theory, constructivist theory, or other) and discuss a topic through the lens of the theory, citing other sources into the discussion.

4. Opinion Pieces

Some articles are based on the opinion or classroom practices of the author without any supporting citations of theory or research).

5. Guides

"Guides recommend specific strategies and/or explain how practitioners might implement particular curricula, programs, or models" (Duke & Ward, 2009). 

Duke, T. S., & Ward, J. D. (2009). Preparing information literate teachers: A metasynthesis. Library & Information Science Research, 31(4), 247-256.

Attention E-Learners - These Resources are for You!

On-campus student? E-Learner student? – UAS libraries provides many online resources for the convenience of all students.  As you use this guide, you'll notice that it includes information about searching and finding both print and online resources.  All students have access to our electronic resources.  You will need your UA username and password to access our e-resources, like eBooks and the full text of articles online.  If you need to retrieve or reset your UA username and password, visit ELMO.

If you are an e-Learner with classes based in Juneau or Sitka, Egan Library is your library.   If you're based in Ketchikan,. then the Ketchikan Campus Library is your library.  Both libraries are here to support your success!  See the webpages below for information on how to get books, articles, research help, and more for e-Learners: