Special Education Research Guide

Looking for a certain research methodology?

Below are some possible search terms to use when trying to locate research articles.  Use these terms IN ADDITION TO your search topic.

  • Case study
  • Study
  • Action Research
  • Focus Group
  • Quantitative
  • Qualitative
  • Mixed methods


  • school readiness AND case study
  • elementary school teachers AND professional development AND action research
  • parent-teacher relationship AND student achievement AND study
  • video games AND learning AND focus group

Recommended databases & journals

Need an article for your special education class? The databases below are great places to look for articles. 

Video tutorial: How to find peer-reviewed articles in a multiple-database search

Can't find the full text?

If you don't see a link to the .pdf of an article, try one of the following:

FAQ: LibKey Nomad: Download the LibKey extension to quickly access full text.

FAQ: Setting up your Library Express Account



Finding peer-reviewed articles

For the work you do at this level, you will likely need to seek articles that are "peer-reviewed" (sometimes also referred to as "scholarly"). In EBSCO databases, you have several tools to help you find peer-reviewed articles.

From the library's home page, you can choose a subject-specific database by going to "Databases."  If you want to do a multiple-database search, start with Academic Search Ultimate. (See instructions for multiple-database searches on this LibGuide.)

screenshot of library homepage highlighting the databases link and the link to Academic Search Ultimate

Once you are inside of an EBSCO database, there are a few ways locate peer-reviewed articles.

1. Do a search and look for results that are from an "Academic Journal." Also, you can use the limiters to narrow to only articles from peer-reviewed journals.

screenshot of an article with arrow pointing at the number of pages in the article


2. Evaluate your results: look for articles that are more than a few pages long. Peer-reviewed articles won't be short. Also review the abstract for indications that this is a research article or some sort of study. You can also click on the journal name to learn more about that publication.

screenshot of an article results screen with notes on where to look to further evaluate a source


3. If you click on the journal name, you can learn more about that publication. Often the publication details page will tell you if a journal is peer-reviewed or not.

screenshot of a journal's information page in an online database




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