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Contemporary Issues in Education

Indexes/Databases Specific to Education

ERIC -  The ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to educational-related literature. ERIC provides ready access to education literature to augment American education by increasing and facilitating the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research. ERIC provides coverage of journal articles, conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books and monographs.

Web of Science (WoS), an Interdisciplinary Index/Database

Web of Science (it's not just for Science!) is a database that allows you to search most of the important journals across all scholarly fields.

  • You can quickly look through several year's worth of issues of multiple journals with a single search.
  • It's interdisciplinary and includes most of the important peer reviewed journals across all fields of knowledge.
  • It's extremely current and up to date, especially in comparison to ERIC.
  • Records include the bibliography of the article, along with a count of the number of times each reference has been cited (based on the aggregate data in the Web of Science database).  Because of this citation tracking, it can be especially helpful in identifying high impact, seminal articles and books in a field.  It can also help you identify and find scholarly debates and conversations.
  • In many cases, direct links to cited references are provided.
  • Like most of the library's databases,   links to access options for articles you're interested in (online, in print, or interlibrary loan).


Searching by Journal Title in WoS

You can search within a particular journal or group of journals when you're in WoS. Keep in mind that you're searching only the titles and abstracts of articles, rather than the full text of articles.

1.  Access the Web of Science database

2.  Change the value in the first pulldown menu to PUBLICATION NAME and enter the title of the journal you want to search

3.  If searching more than one journal at a time, change the AND to OR

4.  Repeat step 2 for each journal you want to search

5.  Use the SEARCH button

6.  The results screen will display citations newest to oldest 

7.  Type keywords related to your topic in the  box to find articles that  are relevant to your project.  

8.  Used the Save to Marked List  feature to email citations to yourself, or export them to a citation management software such as Refworks, Zotero, or Mendeley. 

Create a profile in WoS to save your searches.

Using Cited References

1.  When you look at a full record  in WoS, and several other databases, you'll see a link to the references used by the author(s) in the writing of the article:  


2.  Click on the number to view the bibliography.  

3.  Note that some of the references include a count of the number of times that source was cited by other authors. Note: this count is based on data in the WoS database.  It's not an exhaustive count but it can be useful in identifying seminal articles and books.

4.  Some things to consider when using "Times Cited" to identify a seminal publication:

  • What's the publication date?  Sources published a long time ago have had many years to come to the attention of researchers in the field; recently published items haven't had much time to get noticed.  If a recently published item has been cited many times, it's an indication that it has had early influence.  
  • If the cited title is an article, what journal is it from?  is it one of the journals recommended by your professor?  If not, is the journal a reputable one in the field of education?   
  • Did the author cite several works by the same person?  This could indicate an expert in the field.
  • Does the author cite himself/herself extensively?  If this is a pattern it could artificially inflate the "impact" of the article (as measured by "Times Cited").