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EDUC 302: Human Growth & Development

These pages contain resources for Mason Education students to seek multiple sources to use for your EDUC 302 course assignments

Brainstorm Keywords

Before you look for articles, you should determine what your topic is and identify keywords and phrases.

State your topic as a question: How does parenting style affect adolescent development of independence?

  • identify the keywords/phrases: "parenting style"  "adolescent development"  independence
  • brainstorm for synonyms for the concepts: 

picture showing alternative vocabulary for key words

For Example
Parenting Style
:  Democratic parenting, permissive parenting or authoritarian parenting

Adolescent Development:  Physical development, cognitive development, or social/emotional development

Independence:  Autonomy, self-sufficiency, competence

Once you have identified keywords and phrases and synonyms, you are ready to formulate searches.

For example, for the topic "How does parenting style affect adolescent development of independence?" you might search for:

"parenting style" AND "Adolescent development" AND independence

If you don't find anything with that search, then you may want to think of adding some synonyms to your search:

"authoritarian parent*" AND "social development" AND (autonomy OR competence)


  • The asterisk "*" tells the databases you will take forms of the word: Parent* = parent, parents, parenting
  • The parentheses "( )" tell the database you will take the word autonomy , the word competence, or both words

Type of Searches

Broad Search
Search for information using the single most important term related to your topic. Use this type of search when looking for basic background information.

For example: "adolescent development" - the quotation marks tell the database to look for the phrase

Specific Search
Search for information by combining key words/phrases using the words you have brainstormed. Each phrase/word should be separated by the word "AND". Use this kind of search when looking for specific evidence related to your topic.

Not getting the results you expected?

  • Did you get too many results?  Add more search terms
  • Did you get too few results?  change or remove some of your search terms.

Types of Sources - Know the Difference

What is a popular magazine?
Sources published in newspapers and magazines intended for general audience.  You will not find references.  The author may write about politics one week and education the next.

For example: Cover of diffferent magazines

What is a trade publication?
Is written for people who work in a certain field such as Education.  They provide articles on workplace issues, events, and techniques useful to professionals which will help them do a better job. Trade journals are half way between scholarly journals and magazines: they require some background knowledge but the articles are not scholarly in nature.  
For example:  Cover of trade publication

What is a scholarly journal?
Also called an academic journal.  It is a periodical written by academic experts in that specific field.   The articles submitted are reviewed by experts in the same discipline to determine if the article should be published.  Articles are academic in nature and often research-based. 
For example:   Cover of shcolarly journal