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University of Portland Clark Library

MEd / EdD: Graduate Programs (Edmonton): Your Research Topic

Transforming a Topic into Search Terms

Before starting to search for information, take a few minutes to evaluate your topic idea, and try to break it out into a few key concepts.

Think about:

Who is the population being studied?

What is the main focus of the research?

Why is this necessary? What is the hoped for outcome or change?

Thinking about When and Where may also be relevant as you focus and refine your research; the three questions above are good starting points.

Turning a Topic Idea into an Effective Search

  • Identify the key elements of your topic
  • Search for 1 element (keyword) at a time
  • Watch for the preferred terminology for each element of your topic by watching the database subject headings (or look for the Subject list on the left sidebar)

List of Subject terms in ERIC

  • Keep a list of the best search terms (different databases may use different terms)
  • Not finding enough? Broaden your topic (e.g. instead of Grade 3, try elementary education) | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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