ED410/412: Social and Civic Context of Education

About This Guide

This guide presents the resources the education librarian considers to be the most important academic databases to search, the leading journals to follow, and so forth.  You’ll also find some tips to help you evaluate sources, organize your work, and accomplish your literature review.

If you are new to this topic, you may want to begin by finding background information through an encyclopedia such as Wikipedia or Britannica Online, though in most cases it is not appropriate to cite these in a college-level paper. Anyone can contribute content in Wikipedia – so watch out for biased viewpoints, incomplete or simply incorrect material.


Use these databases to discover articles, books, and other literature on your topic. Note that if you come across a citation without full text attached, do not assume the library has no access. Learn this nearly foolproof way to Get the Full Text of an Article.

Two largest:

BU Libraries Search
Our Search represents by far the most comprehensive grouping of resources we’ve ever been able to provide.  You can find extensive search tips on our site, build an eShelf, and export citations to RefWorks.

Google Scholar
Off-campus users need to set two “Scholar Preferences” to take advantage of library subscriptions: type “Boston University” in Library Links and also choose RefWorks next to Bibliography Manager.

Other important databases:

Education full text (H.W. Wilson)
ERIC Education Resources Information Center.


The best way to discover articles is to search databases (try Search) – you will be searching millions of records at once. But following journal literature periodically is still a very important aspect of scholarship. Depending on the provider, you may be able to set up Table of Contents alerts, save personalized searches, or even contribute to the editorial process.

Find each title below through our Search. The following journals are leading in this field.

Journal Articles


  • The best way to find journal articles on a topic or by an author is to search appropriate databases, such as the ones listed above.



  • How is this article related to your topic?
  • Is it specifically addressing your topic?


  • Is the article peer reviewed?
  • Is this an opinion piece or a research article?
  • If an opinion, is the author well known?
  • If research, does the article include a literature review, a methodology, results, conclusions?
  • What about the bibliography?


  • Who is the author?
  • What institution or organization is the author affiliated with?
  • What else has this author written?

Currency & Impact


  • Via links to pdfs or HTML files in the databases
  • Via Find@BU icon in the databases
  • Via interlibrary loan

Creating bibliographies


Discovering our print books and eBooks can be done through Search. Additionally, for more comprehensive literature reviews I suggest going beyond what BU already owns by using WorldCat. Current members of the BU community can borrow books that we don’t own through our interlibrary borrowing services. Other important book tools include the Internet Archive, Google Books, and of course Amazon.com.