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Introduction to ERIC

Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is an authoritative database of indexed and full-text education literature and resources.

It is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, and is an essential tool for education researchers of all kinds.

Use ERIC to:

  • locate journal articles, books, conference papers, curriculum guides, dissertations and policy papers
  • limit search results by education level (e.g. Early Childhood Education) and intended audience (Counsellors, Teachers)

At the University of Adelaide, ERIC is hosted on the ProQuest platform, so the search and display functions are consistent across both.

The interactive activity below provides an introduction to advanced searching in ERIC. Follow the prompts on the activity screen to proceed through. 

One of the most powerful features of this database is the ERIC Thesaurus, which contains a controlled vocabulary of education-related words and phrases that represent the content of each document in the database. Every document in ERIC is assigned a number of subject terms, or descriptors, from the thesaurus; each descriptor represents one concept.

Keyword vs. Thesaurus Searching

With keyword searching:

  • The database will look for your search terms in more places than just the subject — it will search in the title, abstract, etc.
  • Keywords are based on natural language, which is more flexible.

With thesaurus searching:

  • The database will only retrieve results in which your search terms are key concepts.
  • You don’t have to think of all the different ways a concept may be described.

The video below demonstrates a thesaurus search. It uses the ProQuest thesaurus, but the ERIC thesaurus is hosted by ProQuest and works in the same way.