Skip to Main Content

SPED 3520: Program Development/Students with Severe Disabilities: Finding Special Education Research

Getting Started Checklist

  1. Pick a topic
  2. Summarize your topic into 1 or 2 sentences
  3. Identify the main concepts
  4. Think of possible search terms
  5. Decide how to combine your search terms
  6. Select what databases and resources you want to use
  7. Consider any other criteria you want to include
  8. Connect to the database and enter your search
  9. Revise your search as you go until you are finding relevant search results

Need help with any of these steps? Ask a librarian or try the Forming Your Search Strategy worksheet in the Important Forms box below.

  Important Forms

ILLiad: Get Articles, Books or A/V from Another Library

Selecting a Topic

Pick a topic that you are intersted in or that is relevant to you whenever possible. Need ideas? Try doing a broad search in one of the education databases on one or more of these subject areas:

  • a specific disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; also try its acronym if the disorder has one such as ADHD
  • behavior disorders
  • daily living skills
  • disabilities
  • exceptional children
  • inclusion
  • inclusive
  • social behavior
  • special needs students
  • special education
  • student behavior

Combine them with another subject area to narrow the focus of your search such as:

  • comprehension
  • education level - middle school, first grade
  • learning strategies
  • motivation
  • student achievement

You can also take a look at the articles for something that catches your eye and take a look at the Subjects listed under the citation information in your results list. These Subjects can give you search terms to use to narrow your search down. Find additional subjects by browsing the Thesaurus in the ERIC database. So you might combine your search terms as:

autism and "social behavior" and student motivation


"special education" and inclusion and "middle school"