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Research Strategies and more!

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What's a keyword?

It's really important to distill your topic down into searchable keywords. You might need to change your keyword language or spelling, or use what we call "boolean operators" to combine keywords to get the best results.

The three words that comprise boolean search operators are and, or, and not. Take a look at the image to the right to get a sense of how they work. 


AND tends to narrow searches because all words must be included in results.

OR tends to broaden searches because one or other terms (or all) can be present in results.

NOT selectively eliminates any results containing a specified word.




The two symbols you can also use are "quotation marks" and the asterisk *.


"Quotation marks" searches for groups of words together. This works best if you are looking for a title or phrase.  

The asterisk * is usually found above the number eight on most keyboards. Use the asterisk * to abbreviate words so you can find all possible spelling variations in your search results. It will also make your search results increase, typically.


Most databases also have a Subject or Controlled Vocabulary search mode that you can use in alone or in combination with search keywords. This mode uses words or phrases as categories or tags that are linked so you can see all the articles associated with that subject term or phrase.

Subject Search - The easiest way to use this mode is to find an article you like, then click on the Subjects field in the extended article detail view. Typically you can add keywords or just see a list of all the articles that are associated with that subject. 

You can access subjects through the Thesaurus.  The Thesaurus link is on the upper left hand side on the blue navigation bar in EBSCO databases. Click to search the Thesaurus for subject terms. 


Creating a personal account in databases (when available) is an advantage for advanced researchers, especially if you are working on multiple long-term projects. Some of the features available when you create an account in a database include:

  • Custom citation lists
  • Folders and subfolders for organizing citations
  • Persistent saved citation storage across devices
  • Search alerts
  • RSS feeds
  • Direct integration with Citation Management Tools like Refworks or Endnote.

Google Scholar lets you set up an account and a researcher/scholar profile to list your publications and profile, among other things!

Google Scholar is free to use on the internet, and has lots of full-text articles included. Google Scholar also allows you to search explore papers that have cited a certain paper, and includes Web of Science citation counts and lists when available. 

You can also set up your own researcher/scholar profile, and organize citations.

Google Scholar also contains much more content in languages other than English and English content from more geographically diverse areas.

Lateral reading is using other websites and sources to verify claims and content on websites you are evaluating. It is a strategy used by professional fact-checkers. It's as simple as opening up a few more windows on your browser and searching other sites for claims, persons, things, and events to verify content as your read the source page. You might find this strategy useful when evaluating content you find online.

It's different than vertical reading, which is when you stay on a website and follow the links or analyze the content on your source page without verifying with outside sources. ]


If the full-text of the article is unavailable in the database or via Google Scholar use the Interlibrary Loan Service (ILL) to order the article or book to be delivered online or physically to you. It's fast and quick, and best of all, you already have an account - just activate by logging in to ILLiad with your IslandID and password! 


If you truly can't wait and have the time and resources to travel to another library in Texas, you can get a TexShare card at the Circulation desk that will allow you to check out books at other university and public libraries throughout the state. 

Ask Us!

  • Call: 361-825-2340
  • Text: 361-726-4986
  • Email us
  • Visit the Circulation Desk in Bell Library

Core and Useful Databases

The following databases are just a selection of the wider set available to you - browse the library's Education and Educational Administration database lists from the library's website!

Your Team! College of Education and Human Development and College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Left to Right: Julee Murphy, Trisha Hernandez, Emily Murphy, Aida Almanza-Ferro, Lorin Flores

We are the librarians for College of Education and Human Development, and the College of Nursing. We look forward to working with you! To contact us or to make an appointment:

Submit your request and we'll get right back to you!

Or, you can reach out directly. For our email addresses and phone numbers, see the list below:

Aida Almanza-Ferro | | 361-825-2356
Lorin Flores | | 361-825-2609
Trisha Hernandez | |361-825-2687
Emily Sartorius Murphy | | 361-825-2610
Julee Murphy | | 361-825-2608

Librarians are available M-F, 8-5.