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Engaging with scientific literature

by: D-Eva Project

This assignment will familiarize the students with the process of accessing the University library system through the web. In particular, the goal of this assignment is that students will conduct a literature search using specialized computerized online database containing references for articles and books related to educational sciences.

The teacher will group the students in pairs and set topics for each pair. There will not be 2 pairs with the same subject. Then, he/she will ask students to complete the task individually and at the end to discuss it in pairs. It will be emphasized that this is an individual exercise that will help guide students through doing an online literature search on a class research topic using the online databases (ERIC, PsychINFO, EBSCO and Proquest) and academic search engines (Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic Research and Semantic Scholar). The assumption throughout the assignment is that the found papers will be used for a literature review in writing a research report.

The students know that have to limit their search to articles and books from the past 10 years. The final search for this assignment should be narrow enough so that students’ search results is no more than 30 articles, book chapters, or books. Students are instructed to read abstract articles or book descriptions, look for authors’ keywords and online databases descriptors and thesaurus terms, and reflect on the usefulness of the content for their topic.

At the end the students are asked to list all references in APA format in a document, in alphabetical order, and embed it into the assignment on LMS. For this assignment we estimate a maximum of 2 seminars. 1 seminar unit = 90 minutes. Notes:

a)      It is important that teachers make sure that students know the basics of how to use these databases and search engines.
b)     The task can be taken to a higher level, asking students to include references in the field of gray literature, especially Youtube videos, TED speeches, reports from various organizations such as UNESCO, OECD, …; to identify one or more figures within selected article that shows meaningful data for student’s project or to write a summary (1-2 paragraphs) of selected articles.

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