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Educational Research Preparation

Choosing a Topic

  • Select a topic that is BOTH interesting to you and well defined.
  • Before settling on a topic, review the research assignment requirements and parameters. 
  • If there is uncertainty about the whether the topic you've chosen is relevant or acceptable your professor can provide valuable advice.  A librarian can help you gauge 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. This can help focus a broad topic to a manageable research project.


Literature Review Mechanics

To do a comprehensive literature review you will 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 Refereed Journals.
  • Use Cabell's or Ulrich's or the Editorial Policy Statement in Journal or Database.
  • Professional/practitioner magazines don't typically publish research but do publish tips, news and guides.
  • Not all articles published in scholarly journals are primary empirical research.  Scholarly journals also publish theoretical articles, reviews, editorials and news.  Occasionally practitioner magazines publish primary research.

Is this a research article?

  • 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)

  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

  Catalog at Falvey
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.

jolsen Judith Olsen
Liaison Librarian, Education and Psychology
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 227


Last Modified: Monday, September 22nd, 2014