Education home > Special Types of Information
In addition to the background information you find in books and videos, and the research you locate in periodical literature, other excellent sources of education information exist. The following list explains where you can find special types of information that might enhance your research project.
Note: Access to the online subscription databases listed throughout this document is limited to currently registered students, faculty, and staff of Webster and Eden. Complete lists of the databases available through the library's Web site are available by following the link to Articles / Databases on the home page.
Note: Call numbers for print materials in the Emerson Library at Webster University are provided in parentheses. Extended campus students may wish to check the catalog of your local library to see if the resource is available and where it is shelved.
These resources are used to measure certain characteristics of individuals, for example, academic achievement or psychological attributes like stress or depression. Tests like these are reviewed in books and in periodical literature. There are several standard reference books that give information on tests.
- Mental Measurements Yearbook & Tests in Print (REF Z 5814 .P8 M4)
- This source is published and supplemented every other year and each volume includes tests that are new or significantly revised since the publication of the previous volume. It covers commercially available tests in the English language. Each entry includes a critical review and a bibliography of references for the test based on its construction, validity, or use. Also included is a directory of test publishers, indices by title and subject. An online version of the Mental Measurements Yearbook & Tests in Print is also available.
- Test Critiques (REF Z 5814 .P8 T419)
- Critiques include an introduction to the test, practical applications and uses, technical aspects of the test, a critique possibly with historical context of the test/method, and a bibliography of references. A subject index is included.
- Tests in Print (REF Z5814 .P8 T47)
- This source gives brief descriptions of tests currently available for purchase. Entries include the test's purpose, population studies, publication date, scoring information, method of administration, pricing, time required to administer, author(s) of the test, publisher, and references to descriptions in other publications (including Mental Measurements Yearbook and earlier volumes of Tests in Print). Notes are also included if the test is available in languages other than English or in other formats.
Some academic libraries maintain small tests collections. In most cases, however, you need to contact the publishers of the tests and purchase a copy. Sometimes portions of tests are made available to students at little or no cost.
Online databases such as ERIC and PsycInfo also include literature on testing and tests. Search these databases for the titles of tests in the subjects of articles or for general reviews of measurement tools by subject.
Research handbooks are secondary sources that review and synthesize recent research on educational topics. In addition to a review of the literature, these sources provide an overview of the topic, historical context, and a bibliography of related literature. Commonly-used research handbooks include:
- The Encyclopedia of Educational Research (REF LB 15 .E48 1992)
- Handbook of Research on Curriculum (REF LB 1570 .H264 1992)
- Handbook of Research on Educational Administration (LB 2805 .H2864 1999)
- Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology (REF LB 1028.3 .H355 1996)
- Handbook of Research on School Supervision (REF LB 2806.4 .H36 1998)
- Handbook of Research on Science Teaching and Learning (Q181 .A1 H35 1994)
- Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (LB 1576 .H234 2003)
- Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children (REF LB1119 .H25 1993)
In addition to these reference books, online databases like ERIC publish literature reviews from a variety of scholarly journals, like Review of Educational Research.
In addition to books you may find in library catalogs or ERIC documents , several Internet sites contain lesson plans and activity ideas. In many cases, these are submitted by teachers who use them in their classes. Our Net Resources By Subject page on Education includes several links to collections of lesson plans. A database of lesson plans and curriculum materials, searchable by subject and grade level, is also available at the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) Web site ( http://www.thegateway.org/).
The National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/) is an excellent source of statistical information. Statistics, including those from Digest of Education Statistics and Condition of Education are also available online. Assessment information, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP or "the nation's report card"), is posted as well. NAEP information includes assessment of fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders in the areas of the arts, geography, reading, science, civics, mathematics, US history, and writing.
Statistics Used in Research Studies
Many studies require the researcher to calculate statistics of some sort, depending on the type of study done. These calculations may be very simple, such as determining the mean or "average", or extremely complex, often requiring the aid of a computer. An online textbook that covers topics such as sampling, measurement, design, etc. is Research Methods Knowledge Base by William Trochim. This site is part of the author's Web Center for Social Research Methods collection.
Statistics Collected by Someone Else
Federal, state, and local governments collect all kinds of statistics. Foreign governments may also be rich sources of information about the country. Passport's Government page links to international, US, state, and local government web pages. Some especially helpful federal sites for statistics related to education are:
|"Lies, damn lies, and statistics"*
If you intend to use and/or quote statistics in your research, be very careful--especially if you are using someone else's interpretation of the numbers and their significance. It is often best to find the original source of the statistics to make sure the statistical analysis is logical and is not taken out of context. Statistics can often be interpreted in different ways depending on one's point-of-view.
*Quote attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England
Many universities require the preparation of a master's thesis or a doctoral dissertation for completion of an advanced degree. Any theses and dissertations given to the library are cataloged in the library's online catalog. Note that not all programs require a formal thesis or dissertation and not all programs submit these documents to the library. You may need to contact your department to see if copies are available in their office instead. To learn how to search for such items, see our Webster/Eden Theses or Dissertations page.
If you find one in our catalog you'd like to see, St Louis area students may visit the library to look at a copy. Extended campus students may request a copy using the library's Document Delivery Service.
Dissertations & Theses @ Webster University contains Webster doctoral dissertations and masters level theses submitted summer, 2005 to the present. Webster/Eden faculty, staff, and students may view the full text for free (pdf files require the Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Dissertation Abstracts Online (a FirstSearch database) indexes dissertations and theses accepted at accredited U.S institutions since 1861. It selectively covers masters theses, Canadian dissertations, and British and other European dissertations. As the name implies, you can only find an abstract of the document on this database. Abstracts are often sufficient to explore what research is currently being done in your field. Usually only the library affiliated with the institution that granted the degree will hold a copy of the dissertation.
Note: Unless you are working on an extensive research project, it may not be necessary to consult theses or dissertations. It is recommended that you exhaust other options for research first (i.e. library catalogs, databases, research handbooks, etc.).