Skip to Main Content
George Mason University Infoguides | University Libraries
See Updates and FAQss for the latest library services updates.

Instructional Technology (Education)

Suggested sources to use when performing research in instructional/educational technology.

Research Tips

Are you having trouble getting good search results?  Try some of these suggestions:

Write Out Acronyms                                                                        


Instead of AT use Assistive Technologies
Instead of ESL use English Second Language

Think of Synonyms for Your Keywords


Facebook -- social media, social networks, etc.
Educational technology -- instructional technology, computer assisted instruction, etc.

Try using some of the suggested search terms that you see in your search results.  For example, in PsycINFO and ERIC, after you see your search results look in the left margin and click Subject.  You'll see a list of suggested search terms.

Consider Multiple Spellings and Word Forms


disabled -- disabilities, disability, disable

Enter in Different Keyword Combinations

Hint:  It's helpful to jot down the keywords you tried.  What works, what doesn't work, which database gave you the best results, etc.

Use the Database Thesaurus

  • If you're struggling with coming up with the "right" keywords for your article search.
  • If the search results aren't matching your topic.

Consult the thesaurus that's associated with the library database you are searching.  Both PsycINFO and ERIC have excellent thesauri.

Using vocabulary from a database thesaurus will help you to get more accurate search results and can help to resolve problems that come up when a search term has more than one meaning.


grades -- academic achievement, grade point average, grading
grades -- instructional program divisions, grade 1, kindergarten, middle school, etc.

Watch a screencast on how to use the PsycINFO Thesaurus.

Searching by keyword retrieves results that only match the terms you entered. 

Searching by a thesaurus word (or descriptor or subject term) retrieves results that are indexed to match the standardized thesaurus word.  The thesaurus terms (or controlled vocabulary) are used to label articles by subject.  Using terminology from the database thesaurus will also retrieve related entries--where the author used a different term but the indexers matched the author's vocabulary to the controlled vocabulary.