UCB Libraries

EDUC 8014

Doctoral Seminar in Multicultural Education

  • Starting Research
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Recommended Resources
  • Citing
  • Writing


Focussing a Topic | Finding Background Information | Finding Reference Sources | Developing Keywords


Focussing a topic

Once you have determined a topic, issue or subject of interest, you will need to focus the topic into a researchable question. Some tips for doing so are:

  • Brainstorm about your topic. Identify related issues, people, events etc.
  • List what you already know about your topic, and what you need to know or want to know. How does your teaching experience inform your topic?
  • Determine what perspective will you take on your topic.
  • Deternine the geographic region on which you will focus.
  • Choose a specific time period.

Often doing some preliminary reading or background research is extremely helpful in developing a focus. Move to the next step 'Getting Background Info' for some tips.

Finding Reference Sources


You will find numerous reference sources in the UCB Libraries' collection, both online and in print.

SEARCH your topic in Reference Universe, enter your topic in the search box below:

Reference Universe: This is a searchable database that indexes information from specialized subject encyclopedias. It does not include the full text of reference materials but will point you to reference sources that cover your topic. It searches both the titles of reference articles with extensive bibliographies as well as the encyclopedia / dictionary indexes, providing a thorough level of access to materials and potential sources. CU



Finding Background Information

Developing a comprehensive understanding of your topic is essential when embarking on research. One way to gain background information is to utilize reference sources. This will help you to focus and concentrate your interest in a researchable portion of your topic. For help developing background information:

Education Research Guide- Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and More


Reference Sources

Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education, 2004
REF DEPT STACKS--Library Use Only-- LC1099.3 .H35 2004

Bilingual education : a reference handbook, 2002
NORLIN STACKS-- LC3731 .F45 2002

Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 1997
REF DEPT STACKS -- Library Use Only --P40.8 .E53 1997

Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning, 2005
NORLIN STACKS-- P118.2 .H359 2005


The handbook of ethical research with ethnocultural populations and communities / edited by Joseph E. Trimble, Celia B. Fisher

NORLIN STACKS--GN495.4 .T75 2006

Online Sources


Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology online

The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology is the reference for students, researchers, librarians, and academics in the field. This ground-breaking project brings together specially commissioned entries written and edited by an international team of the world's best scholars and teachers. An essential reference for expert and newcomer alike, with entries ranging from short definitions of key terms to extended explorations of major topics .


Encyclopedia of Evaluation
The Encyclopedia of Evaluation is a who, what, where, how, and why of evaluation. Evaluation is a profession, a practice, a discipline—and it has developed and continues to develop through the ideas and work of evaluators and evaluation theorists working in real places with high hopes for social improvement. Each ...


Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics
It's an interesting paradox when an important subject, which can help us make sense of our busy, everyday world, is considered very difficult to approach. Such is the case with measurement and statistics. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case, and we believe that the Encyclopedia of ...


Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods
These volumes comprise an encyclopedia of social science research methods, the first of its kind. Uniqueness explains, at least partly, why we undertook the project. It has never been done before. We also believe that such an encyclopedia is needed. What is an encyclopedia? In ancient Greek, the word signifies ...


More Online Reference Sources


Developing Keywords

Before you start to research a topic, you need to develop keywords that represent your research interest, question, or inquiry.


Keywords are significant words (usually nouns or noun phrases) which can be used as search terms in online catalogs or databases. Keywords will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve when searching.


First you will identify and articulate your topic in your own words:

Example: I am interested in investigating the effectiveness of literacy assessments used with second language learners.


Next you will designate the main concepts or ideas that describe the topic:


Concept 1:

second language learners


Concept 2:


Concept 3:



Then develop other terms and vocabulary that represent the topic. Some terms may be broader, narrower, or synonyms. Adding terms that represent geographical distincitions, time periods, or significant figures about your topic may also be useful.


Concept 1:

second language acquisition




language learners


foreign language instruction







Concept 2:







Literacy Education


Cultural literacy






Concept 3:

test (s)

















Combining Keywords


AND: second language learners AND literacy (must find both terms)
OR: testing OR assessment (must find one of the terms)
NOT: testing NOT standardized (must find first term NOT second term)



Phrases: “second language learners” (must find that phrase in that order)
Synonyms: (“second language learner” OR ELLs) AND literacy
Wildcards: assess* will find assessment, assessments, assessing, etc.


You may use the UCB Search Strategy/ Keyword Worksheet to develop your own topic.

For deatails on combining keywords for the best results view the

How Do I Use Keywords




Chinook | Prospector | Interlibrary Loan

Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to manage your library account (including renewals, holds, recalls, saved searches, etc.)


Tutorial: Chinook Keyword Search


For Tips on developing keywords for your topic go to:


How do I Choose Keywords for my search



If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of 23 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. CU students, staff and faculty can request materials through Prospector, and the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days. prospector prospector


Request through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/ill/index.htm

If the book you are looking for is not in Chinook or Prospector, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Generally, an ILL request will take longer to be delivered than material requested through Prospector.



Articles By Topic | Recommended Databases | Articles From a Citation

In order to find articles about a particular topic, you will use a library database. UCB Libraries provides access to numerous databases. They are available on the Find Articles and More Page.


You may explore our databases organized by categories and subcategories. Remember to read the descriptions of each database to determine which will suit your needs. Think about other disciplines that may be relevant to your topic!


Education - Most Useful


Education - Also Useful


Sociology - Race and Ethnicity


Anthropology - Cultural


Psychology - Most Useful


Linguistics - Most Useful


Typically you may search by keyword, author, title and more. For help developing keywords, go to How do I Choose Keywords? HINT! Keep track of search terms. Look for database recommended search terms and help resources.


WAIT! Are you connecting from off-campus?

Tutorial: VPN

Education-related abstracts/databases



ERIC Education Resources Information Center (CSA) provides access to more than 1.2 million abstracts of journal articles and other education-related documents produced by practioners and researchers. In most cases, the Find it at CU icon will connect to a full-text version of journal articles. CSA also provides saved searches, email alerts and other education-related databases.


Included is full-text access to ERIC Documents (ED) from 1996 to present. ERIC Documents from 1966-1993 are available on microfiche and can be requested from Pascal using the ERIC Document request form.


ERIC is also available in a free web-based version.


Education abstracts

Includes comprehensive coverage of an international range of English-language periodicals, monographs and yearbooks. Coverage includes about 79 journals not covered by ERIC. Education Abstracts indexes articles from 1929 to present. In most cases, the Find it at CU icon will connect to a full-text version of journal articles. Access limited to four simultaneous users. Requires VPN software to access off campus.


ProQuest dissertations & theses : A&I

Includes citations for dissertations ranging from 1861 to those accepted last semester. Dissertations published from 1980 forward include 350-word abstracts; master's theses from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. Provides abstracts of dissertations and some master's theses from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and, to a lesser and more selective extent, other countries. Provides full-text access to CU-Boulder dissertations from approximately 1997 to present. Requires VPN software to access off campus.


Web of science
An interdisciplinary online index that provides bibliographic citations for high impact journals in the disciplines of science, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Provides subject, citation, and title access. Includes access to current and retrospective bibliographic information from nearly 9,300 leading scholarly peer-reviewed journals. The database can be used to track resources cited in an article and to identify articles which cite an article or book. The "Find Related Records" feature enables users to find other articles that have cited the same sources. All three areas (sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities) can be searched individually or in combination.



Full-text journal collections


Education: a SAGE full-text collection

Includes the full text of 26 peer-reviewed journals published by SAGE and participating societies distinguished by up to 40 years of backfiles, and encompasses over 8,000 articles.



This is an archival collection (2003-earlier) including more than 50 major peer reviewed education journals including those published by the American Education Research Association. This full-text collection does not contain the most recent publications.


Widening your search


The Libraries subscribe to numerous databases and choosing the right article database can be difficult. There are numerous types of databases some will provide citations and abstracts, some will also include full text, some will link to reference materials, and more.There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What discipline or subject area does your topic fall within? Who is having a conversation on the issue?
  • What perspective are you interested in? (critical, psychological, sociological etc.)
  • What type of material do your need? (scholarly, popular, newspapers)
  • What time period are you researching?

All of these questions will help lead you to a relevant database. Keep in mind that there are a few types of databases.

  • General and Interdisciplinary databases: These databases are a good starting point when you are new to your topic. They often include scholarly and popular sources as well as material from a variety of disciplines and perspetives. For Example: Academic Search Premier

  • Subject or Discipline Databases: These databases will help you find material from specific disciplines. They provide more in-depth and focused research.
  • Format Specific Databases: These databases are narrowed to specific types of material, such as newspapers, dissertations, statistics, images, biographies etc. For Example: ProQuest dissertations & theses : A&I

Are you connecting from off-campus?

If you have a specific article you need or you are tracking works from a bibliography, you will use:


Find it @ CU Article Finder
Complete this form to find the article in electronic or print.

Tutorial: Find it @ CU Article Finder

OR use the Chinoook Journals/ Serials Title search. Be sure to look for the journal/ magazine title NOT the article title. Then follow the links to the correct volume, issue, year, page number.

Tutorial: Chinook Periodical Title



More Sources

Related Library Guides

A guide to research resources in Education available from the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries.


Educational Resources
This guide, from the Government Publications Library, provides links to data on education from federal , state and international sources.


How do I Find an ERIC document?


Journals of Interest

American educational research journal (Online)

Bilingual Research Journal (Online)

Education Policy Analysis Archives (Online)

Exceptional Children (Online)

Journal of Educational Psychology (Online)

Reading Research Quarterly (Online)

Remedial and Special Education (Online)


Books of Interest

August, D. & Hakuta, K. (1997). Improving schooling for language minority children: A research agenda. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. [electronic book]


Donovan, S., & Cross, C. (2002). Minority students in special and gifted education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. [online]


A global perspective on bilingualism and bilingual education [electronic resource] / Tucker, G. Richard


Related Subject Terms in the Library Catalog:


Education, Bilingual

Education Bilingual United States
Multicultural Education

Special Education United States

Websites of Interest

Center for Multilibgual Multicultural Research Links


National Association of Bilingual Education


National Clearinghouse for English Language and Instruction Educational Programs


National Center for Education Statistics


Office of English Language Acquisition- US Dept. of Education




Alison Graber


Education Subject Specialist





8/09 AG


Citation Styles | RefWorks | Tips & Strategies

Citation Styles


APA Style (PDF document)



You may also find print guides in the library:




A personal online database and bibliography creator that allows users to create a personal database online, import references automatically from multiple databases, organize references, and quickly format bibliographies and manuscripts. You will need to create a login and password. Provided by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries.


How do I use RefWorks?


Use RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, or some other citation management tool. You will be able to keep track of citations, organize your literature reviews, insert citations easily into your paper, as well as create bibliographies. It will save you a huge amount of time in the long run.


Receive personalized resource alerts from Chinook

You can customize Chinook, the CU library catalog, so that you automatically receive email alerts of new resources added to the library collection.


Current awareness services

Databases such as CSA ERIC allow you to set up automatic searches and Table of Contents alerts for journals. You will need to create an account in CSA ERIC which will allow you to save searches, get e-mail alerts, and recieve journal alerts.










Writing Sources

Chinook Resources

Search for information related to proposal writing and education/social sciences research in Chinook with the following subject headings:


Proposal writing in research

Proposal writing in the social sciences

Social sciences -- Research -- Methodology

Education -- Research Methodology


More Resources

University of Colorado PWR

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writers from across disciplines and skill levels the opportunity to work one-on-one with consultants trained in writing pedagogy. Writing Center sessions strive to address writers' stated needs while attending to relevant disciplinary, rhetorical, grammatical, and stylistic concerns. 
We're in the Norlin Commons (Norlin E111, near the east entrance of Norlin Library ). Services are FREE to all CU students, faculty, staff and alumni.

OWL of Purdue University
Online Writing Center of Purdue University is an excellent site full of writing and research tips.