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Educational Studies

A guide to educational studies resources

Author and Authority

  • Who is the author?
    • Google them, check Wikipedia, check subject-specific encyclopedias to find out where they work, what they research, what they teach, etc.
    • If you add "" to your Google search, it will only search college and university websites, which can help you find a current researcher's CV, research perspective, courses, and other information that the authors themselves may have made available through their university.
  • What else has the author written?
    • All databases allow you to limit your search to just the author's names.
    • Some databases allow you to simply click on the author's name and other articles by that person will come up.
    • Google Scholar lets you search for author's names, but it will sometimes limit you to only the first initial, and may give misleading hits.

Publication and Peer Review

  • Where is the article published?
    • Journals and books through academic organizations or university presses often have some sort of review process, while materials released on blogs, posters, or other more informal routes don't have as much oversight. It doesn't mean it's bad information, but it may be outdated or just an initial report published before the matter was completely investigated.
  • Is it a scholarly publication?
    • Peer review means that experts in the field or sub-field that the author is publishing in have read the article and found it to be a good quality addition to the scholarly conversation. It's a good idea for most research papers to focus on peer-reviewed articles to ensure it's a good quality resource.
    • University Presses, especially those like Oxford, tend to have high quality materials, because the books not only represent the author but also the organization as a whole.
    • Not every research paper can be done with peer-reviewed materials--it is often discipline specific. Personal interviews, for example, are a rich source of information, but they are not considered "peer reviewed."

Citating and Citation

  • Who does the author cite in their bibliography?
    • Are they big names in the discipline? Popular writers? What can this tell you about the research the author did?
  • Does the author include citations?
    • The lack of clear citations, which allow a researcher to trace an author's path through the scholarly conversation, is a possible clue that author hasn't done their research.
    • Can you locate the articles the author cites? Does that work actually say what this author says it says?
  • Who has cited the article/author?
    • In Web of Science, Academic Search Premier, and Google Scholar, you can do a Cited Reference search, where you put in the information about the article you have and it will tell you who has cited the article. This can be a great way to trace how the rest of the profession reacted (or not) to the publication of the article.
    • Very recent articles will have fewer citations, because not enough time has passed for the article to circulate through the scholarly process.
    • Was it well received? Were there retractions or corrections published after the fact?

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