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Educational Researchers need

the Educational Resources Information Center

What Is ERIC Accessing ERIC Searching ERIC via EbscoHost Mark & Display Complete Reference 
Citing Your Results  Online Full-Text ERIC Documents Interpreting ERIC Results  Locating the Journals You Need 
Locating the Education Documents You Need  Searching ERIC: Using Publication Types Using the Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors Getting Help
Go to ERIC, part 2 for links to Clearinghouses and additional online ERIC resources


ERIC, the Educational Resources Information Center, provides extensive coverage of major developments in educational research and practice. The Mission of ERIC is

To improve American Education by increasing and facilitating the use of
education research and information on practice.
ERIC's indexing service includes citations to educational journal articles and unpublished educational documents. The ERIC database consists of more than 1 million citations that originally appeared in the print Resources in Education (RIE, non-journal publications, 1966 to the present), and Current Index to Journals in Education (CIJE, education journal article citations, 1969 to the present). When you search for article or document citations on a topic, ERIC searches both indexes simultaneously. ERIC documents are materials such as curriculum guides, research reports, and program descriptions, most havingnever been published in the traditional sense, i.e., in a journal or as a book. Most ERIC documents will be available in the ISU Library in microfiche format. See also the section on Online Full-text access below. For more information, see the section, Locating the ERIC Documents You Need (below). ISU may or may not have journals cited in ERIC (but we do have a lot of education journals, so you have a good chance of finding the articles locally). For more information, see the section, Locating the Journals You Need (below).

ACCESSING ERIC: several options

From the Library Homepage, click on Databases.  Click on Alphabetical, then on E.  There are several different versions of ERIC available, listed in the following order:



In the EBSCOhost interface you can choose to perform a Basic, Guided, or an Expert search.  These buttons are located at the top of the screen under the EBSCO logo.  The Guided search allows you to put in up to four search terms and provides you with special limiters to limit your search results by publication type, ERIC journals or documents, audience, government level, country of publication, and language.

Performing a search: Once you select your search screen (Basic, Guided, or Expert) type your term into the Find: box and click on the Search button.

Viewing your results: The Result List will appear after performing search. Click the blue arrow buttons at the top or bottom of the results list to view next set of records.

Time Saver: Mark records for batch printing. Click the box in the Mark column on the result list and click on the Print button located at the top and the bottom of the Result list. You also have the option of e-mailing the records, after marking your records, click on the "E-mail" button.

Searching by the ERIC Thesaurus of Descriptors: To find items by subject, utilize the online ERIC Thesaurus.  Click on Thesaurus Search located at the top of the screen.  Type your term in the For: box and click the Browse button. The thesaurs will either list your original term (if it appears in the database) and provide you with the proper term (identified by the term Use:) or it will display your term with a list of broader, narrower, or related terms below it.  To search by term, select the box next to the term and click the Search button located at the top and the bottom of the screen. To search by a suggested term (those terms listed under your original search term) click on it first, then select the box and click on the Search button.

How to combine your search terms:
Colleges and administration  limits results to articles that have BOTH words 
colleges or universities expands results to articles that have EITHER word 
colleges not administration  limits results to articles that have colleges but NOT administration
You can combine several terms by nesting terms together.
Use parentheses when you combine terms using a combination of and, or , and not
as demonstrated in examples below
universities and (students or freshmen) combines 2 similar terms with one other term 
universities and (students not freshmen) combines two terms while excluding one other term
universities and students and freshmen includes all three terms in the search results 

Viewing your results

ERIC Document records will contain a combination of the following:

See the section: Locating the Education Documents You Need.

ERIC Journal records will contain a combination of  the following:

Check ISU Catalog will open up a new browser window and automatically run a Journal Title search in the Online Catalog. If not held locally, you can return to your Ebscohost record and use the ILL Link to submit a request..  See the section: Locating the Journals You Need. It may turn out that an item identified as 'not held' is either available in the print/microfilm collection in the Library, or is available via a link to an electronic subscription!

Tip: When looking through the individual records, you will see that the subjects covered are highlighted in blue. If you click on one of the highlighted subjects, you will be able to view a list of more records on the same subject. Authors and Sources [journal titles] are also hyperlinks.

Time Saver: Mark records for batch printing. Click the box in the "Print: click here to Mark for print box on the individual recordt OR use the Mark column on the Results list. Use the Print | Email | Save buttons. You must type in your email address and the domain of your e-mail address in order for EBSCOhost to mail the results to you. To e-mail or print the full-text of an article, the full text must appear on the screen.

How to find it if it is not fulltext:  Look for the "Source" of the article that you want in your library's catalog. The source is the title of the magazine or journal in which the article appeared.

If you want to limit your search results to only the articles that are available in fulltext, select the "Full Text" box when you create your search. However, this may exclude records that may be important to your topic.



Examples from Ebscohost:

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice: Integrating Multicultural Theory into an Undergraduate Foundations of Education Class. Schuster, Tracy J. (ED451802)
Note: This title is not held locally Full Text from EDRS ILL Link

The Effects of Instructional Intervention on Improving Proportional, Probabilistic, and Correlational Reasoning Skills among Undergraduate Education Majors. Vass, E.; Schiller, D.; Nappi, A. J.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v37 n9 p981-95 Nov 2000 (EJ615660)
Note: This title is not held locally ILL Link

Examples from AskERIC ED451802. Schuster, Tracy J.. Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice: Integrating Multicultural
Theory into an Undergraduate Foundations of Education Class.  2001

EJ615660. Vass, E.; Schiller, D.; Nappi, A. J.. The Effects of Instructional Intervention on Improving
Proportional, Probabilistic, and Correlational Reasoning Skills among Undergraduate Education Majors. .

Click on the underlined ERIC accession number to access the full record. IGNORE the OBTAIN button. Use your Browser to Print Preview and Print the record. Use your Browser's Back button to return to your list of results.

Hint: You may wish to print out the complete listing of documents found; even though this listing will be incomplete for citation purposes, you can refer back to it or use it to rebuild your search at a later date. You can use it as a checklist as you examine your individual results.


In addition to information in any style manuals you may have, refer to ERIC's How to Cite ERIC Materials in a Bibliography; INSPIRE's How to Cite or the ISU Library's Citing Electronic Information Sources e_citing.pdf



Once you have conducted your search in ERIC, and printed off your citations, exit the database/website. Access the Online Catalog. The list of citations you receive will be a mixture of two types of records: journals and documents. As you evaluate each individual citation, note that each record begins with an Accession Number field. ERIC journal record accession numbers begin with an EJ prefix; documents begin with an ED prefix.

ERIC Journal Records: Individual citations in ERIC follow a labeled fields format; i.e., information is presented in individual areas on your screen. Most field label meanings are obvious; e.g., Author(s), Title. [The ERIC Author and Subject Headings fields are clickable links.]

ERIC Document Records: The same labeled fields format mentioned above applies to individual ERIC document records; indeed, many of the field labels are the same as those found in the ERIC journal records. The Accession Number (#) field is very important; each ERIC Document (ED) is filed in numerical order by its unique accession number in the Teaching Materials, Microforms & Media Department (2nd floor).



CHECKING THE ISU LIBRARY CATALOG: The EBSCOhost interface provides a link within the result to automatically check the Library's catalog to see if ISU owns the journal.  To check the Library catalog, click on the link that says Check the ISU Catalog for Local Holdings. If we own a journal a result list or a record will appear.  If we don't own a journal then a message will appear saying, your search resulted in no hits! (Then you will need to use our Interlibrary Loan forms.

In addition, use the Library's E-Journal List to determine if the article is available in other full-text subscription databases.

In Ebscohost, you can browse journal titles listed in the database by clicking on the Publications button.You can also search via ERIC's Processing & Reference Facility list.



ERIC Documents will be indicated by an ED and then a number (for example ED459597). To locate ERIC documents follow the instructions for the specific databases below:

ERIC via EBSCOhost: ERIC documents from 1996 to present (must be ERIC Documents numbered higher than ED348466) are available full-text via EBSCOhost.  To access the full-text, click on the link that says Full text from EDRS.  If this link isn't available then the document is older than 1996 and you will have to retrieve it from the Library.  To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Print out the record from ERIC
  2. Go to Teaching Materials, TMM&M, (located on the second floor of the Library) and use the six-digit document accession number taken from the ERIC # field to find the document in our ERIC Microfiche collection. Read and copy pages from the microfiche via Teaching Materialsí microfiche readers; you may also check out the microfiche and a reader (limited quantities available).
  3. Distance Ed courses: If you are a distance ed student request a copy of the document via our Distance Ed library support service.
A very small percentage of ERIC documents are not available on microfiche; you can identify these by noting the Microfiche Availability field; if this field says, Not Available from EDRS, you will not find it on microfiche. If this occurs, first, do a title search in the Online Catalog, especially if the publication type indicates that it is a book. If not found, request the document through Interlibrary Loan.

ONLINE FULL-TEXT:  If you locate an ERIC Document number elsewhere than within the Ebscohost database, you can connect to the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) [linked on ISU's
Databases/Alphabetical listing, too] From the opening menu of the E*Subscribe screen, choose Express Search or Full Search. Express Search: enter up to 30 ED###### accession numbers , and click the Search button.  A list of results will come up (ignore pricing information unless you plan to pay ERIC directly for documents!). If you see the pdf icon  , then the entire ERIC Document is available to you. The icon  will lead you to a copy of the ERIC Documentís basic information (abstract, etc.).  Full Search:  allows you to search for ERIC Documents by date ranges, accession number, author, title, clearinghouse, issue month, publication date, publication type, language, and keyword in abstract. Examples of each search type are available by clicking on  .   There are also several sorting options. Online Help is available. Once finished, please click on Logoff E*Subscribe. Wow: access to more than 85,000 Documents!

Resources In Education issues Available for Searching: RIENOV1966 - present (ED010000 - present); Available for Downloading and Viewing: RIEJAN1993 - present


SEARCHING ERIC using Publication Types

You can explore the ERIC search options and choose where you want your search terms to appear. In some ERIC databases, you can enter specific Publication Types to search. Publication Types are:

010 Books

020 General
021 Conference Proceedings
022 Serial
030 Creative Works (Literature, Drama, Fine Arts)

040 Undetermined
041 Doctoral
042 Masters Theses
043 Practicum Papers

050 General (use more specific code, if possible) Classroom Use
051 Instructional Materials (for Learner)
052 Teaching Guides (for Teacher)
055 Non-Classroom Use (for Administrative and Support Staff, and for Teachers, Parents, Clergy, Researchers, Counselors, etc., in Non-classroom Situations)
060 Historical Materials
070 Information Analyses (State-of-the-Art Papers, Research Summaries, Reviews of the literature on a Topic)
071 ERIC Information Analysis Products (IAPs) 072 Book/Product Reviews
073 ERIC Digests (Selected) in Full Text
074 Non-ERIC Digests (Selected) in Full Text
080 Journal Articles
090 Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
100 Audiovisual/Non-Print Materials
101 Computer PRograms
102 Machine-readable Data Files (MRDFs)
110 Statistical Data (Numerical, Quantitative, etc.)
120 Viewpoints (opinion Papers, Position Papers, Essays, etc.)

130 General (use more specific code, if possible)
131 Bibliographies/Annotated Bibliographies
132 Directories/Catalogs
133 Geographic Materials/Maps
134 Vocabularies/Classifications/Dictionaries
140 General (use more specific code, if possible)
141 Descriptive (ie., Project Descriptions)
142 Evaluative/Feasibility
143 Research/Technical
150 Speeches, Conference Papers
160 Tests, Evaluation Instruments
170 Translations
171 Multilingual/Bilingual Materials

Each search field has a two-letter code. You can also use those to search. For example, you could enter Libraries and 080 to get journal articles with Libraries in the default search field set (.mp. = abstract, title, heading word, identifiers). You can search by the code number (after 1974) or the phrases. Sometimes people want to search ERIC but want to retrieve ONLY journal article citations. In order to do this, combine your search term with the phrase: Journal Articles or the code 080; e.g., Libraries and 080.



ERIC utilizes a controlled vocabulary (like searching by subject in the Online Catalog); when you do a subject search, you are trying to match your topic with the correct term. You can search ERIC by simply entering keywords and phrases, but limiting your search terms to the ERIC Subject Heading may allow for more useful results. If you don't specify subject, ERIC searches all record fields or a set of default fields (varies by database access) and may pull your search term from a sentence in the abstract field; you often get hundreds of results and it's hard to sift through them. Ebscohost includes a Thesaurus Search option. You can also consult the print Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors. Copies of the Thesaurus are kept in Reference (1st floor).

Online access to the Thesaurus is available at You can search the Thesaurus by entering Keywords; you can also specify a Category; e.g., The Educational Process: School Perspectives. An older interface is available at the Eric Search Wizard site at Through a system of abbreviations and numbers, each entry in the Thesaurus lets you know which index terms are all right to use. In addition, entries often include other searchable terms, broken down into broader terms (BT), narrower terms (NT), and related terms (RT). The entry below is excerpted from the print Thesaurus and shows the arrangement. Terms that are not recognized by the system and should not be used in subject searching are indicated (UF). Some entries include a scope note (SN), or definition, of the term.

Excerpt taken from Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors:

  Objective References Tests
CIJE: 187 RIE: 217
SN Tests that have predetermined lists of correct answers so that subjective opinions or judgments are eliminated in scoring (note: do not confuse with 'standardized tests')
Matching Tests
Objectively Scored Tests
NT Multiple Choice Tests
BT Tests
RT Answer Keys
Confidence Testing
Essay Tests



The main page:

ERIC Slide Show:

AskERIC's Q&A Service Utilizing the diverse resources and expertise of the national ERIC System, AskERIC staff will respond to your question within 2 business days with ERIC database citations and Digests, Internet resources, and referrals to other sources of information. AskERIC responds to EVERY question with personalized resources relevant to YOUR needs. See this page for a brief list of Hot Topics and visit the Hot Topics Archives at

Assistance from ISU: Assistance in using ERIC or any other library resource is always available at the Information Desk (1st floor, Main Library) or through the Ask a Librarian links on the Library Homepage.

Always ask for help at the Information Desk or contact us for assistance in using these or any other library resources.

Online Guides
Library Instruction
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