Finding Resources for an Academic Paper
An academic paper focuses on an argument the author supports. In it, an author may include a literature review, or a section exploring the sources on the subject, combining both summary and synthesis of information.
The University of Florida Libraries offers hundreds of databases researchers can use to explore the literature and find resources important for developing an argument. At the Education Library, resources collected support the 26 academic degree programs in the College of Education focusing on teaching and learning; educational administration and policy; special education; counselor education; and educational psychology. This breadth of resources can be overwhelming. To help reduce the anxiety of research, this guide and each subject page (linked above) are intended to help navigate the researcher through the variety of book and article resources available.
Finding Library Books
Search the Library Catalog to locate books, electronic books, multimedia, reports and other materials held by the Education Library and other UF Libraries across campus. Using the Subject Headings found in the full record for materials matching your research interests can lead you to other resources held by the libraries. Note too that you can also browse library books using call numbers to locate specific ranges appropriate for your topics. Use this browsing guide to discover where to begin!
Database selection is an important step in the literature review process. The librarians at the Education Library have identified key databases for use by researchers and students interested in topics in education. These databases have varying coverage of publication types (including journals, magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, reviews, reports and book articles) and coverage dates, but all contain resources for research in education. Many contain full text content which enables the researcher to view the full article online. Because the libraries pay for access to these databases, they require login when used off campus. Please review this access page to learn how UF affiliates can connect to these resources.
Articles and other secondary sources of information are available using Education Full Text (1983 to date) and Education Full-Text Retrospective (1929-1983). The Professional Development Collection is also useful for educators to find appropriate literature. In addition, ERIC, which is a collection sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, provides access to journal articles, books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers, and other education-related materials. The ERIC database provides bibliographic information of more than 1.1 million citations on education topics going back to 1966 and also provides full text sources.
Other article databases with citation or full text coverage include JSTOR (full e-journal database), Academic Search Premier (multidisciplinary database with full text), Web of Science (multidisciplinary citation database), and LexisNexis Academic (full text newspaper database with limited legal (court cases and legislative) and medical resources). Other databases listed on the key databases page offer specific subject emphasis for counseling and psychology topics (PsycNET, PsycInfo, and Mental Measurements Yearbook (a comprehensive guide to over 2,000 contemporary testing instruments)). Though these are the recommended databases to use for topics in education, more education databases are available.
Please note that because some of these databases only provide the citation and abstract, you will need to click on the to discover if the article is available in full text from another subscription database or if the journal is held in the collection (search UF Library Catalog).
Finding Other Sources of Information
Other types of information, such as statistics, may be necessary to support your argument. The Educational Statistics page provides links to many resources that can lead to statistical information. Some general information can be found in encyclopedic and other reference sources; visit the Education Library Reference Collection in Norman Hall, or the Gale Virtual Library which includes several education (and related subject) reference sources.