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Educational Research Preparation

Choosing a Topic

  • Selecting a topic that is BOTH interesting to you and well defined enough to be executable is important. 
  • Before settling on a topic it is advisable to review the research assignment requirements and parameters. 
  • If there is uncertainty about the whether the topic you've choosen is relevant or acceptable your professor can provide valuable advice.  A librarian can help you gague the availability of scholarly resources on your topic.
  • Browsing or scanning the literature around topics of interest is a good way to determine the feasibility of a topic or can help focus a broad topic to a manageble research project.


Literature Review Mechanics

To do a comprehensive literature review you will likely need to use multiple databases and perform many searches with keywords, phrases, and broader and narrower subject terms. 

For exceptional models of literature reviews, browse the articles published in Review of Educational Research

Identifying Scholarly Primary Research Articles:  A Two Step Process

Is the journal scholarly?

  • Published in Scholarly or Peer Reviewed or Blind Reviewed or Referred Journals.
  • Use Cabell's or Ulrich's or Editorial Policy Statement in Journal or Database check off.
  • Professional/practitioner magazines don't typically publish research but do publish tips, news, guides.
  • Not all articles published in scholarly journals are primary empiracle research.  Scholarly journals publish theoretical articles, reviews, editorials and news.  Occassionally practitioner magazines publish primary research.

Is the article research?

  • Methodology
  • Authoritative Author
  • Data Documented
  • Hypothesis
  • Abstract
  • Lengthy

Research Method/Design

The library has many books on education research methods.  To find more, search our catalog for the subject education research or browse the LB1028 section on the 3rd floor of Falvey Memorial Library. Additionally the following e-books on research methods in general should be helpful.

Disseminating Your Research

  JCR Web: Science & Social Sciences Editions (Thomson Reuters)
Journal Citation Reports (JCR) provides the impact factor (the relative importance of journals within a given field) and other citation data for around 11,000 scholarly and technical journals worldwide. Coverage is multidisciplinary and international, incorporating journals from 3,300 publishers approximately 200 disciplines, and 80 countries.

  Cabell’s Directories of Publishing Opportunities
Provides the publishing guidelines of journals in the following areas: accounting, management, marketing, educational curriculum and methods, educational psychology and administration, and psychology. Includes address for submission, review information (such as type of review, acceptance rate) and type of articles (current issues, literature reviews, etc.).

  National Education Association Conferences
List of annual conventions

Keyword and subject searches in the Library's catalog are good starting points when first exploring a topic. Search results can be narrowed with facets such as topic, era, language or region. Facets are located on the right hand side of the results screen.

kbugg Kimberley Bugg
Team Leader, Information and Research Assistance and Service Development
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 227


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013