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ED 322 - Introduction to Special Education


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to ED322: Introduction to Special Education. Due to the variety of topics you are able to pursue in this course, the guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. The following resources can be used for both the research paper and assistive technology assignments; for resources specific to the assistive technology assignment see the Assistive Technology section of this guide. For further research assistance, please contact the Education Liaison Librarian.


Research Basics

The Geisel Library website includes a Research Help [Link to 14.3] page, which contains numerous guides to using library resources and finding information. Included is a Research Strategy guide that walks you through the seven steps of doing successful college-level research, as well as a number of helpful video tutorials. Please take advantage of these resources.


Reference Sources for Background Information

The following reference sources can be helpful for brainstorming keywords and concepts. Also take note of the bibliographies at the end of entries, these works will get you started in locating key pieces of research on your topic.

E-Reference Databases

Credo Reference

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Oxford Reference Online (ORO)

Single Titles (Print and Electronic)

Children's Needs III
     Ref LB 1027.55 .C463

Condition of Education
     Ref L 112 .N377 (print version)

Digest of Education Statistics
     Ref L 111 .D536 (print version)

Encyclopedia of American Education, 3 vols.
     Ref LB 17 .U54

Encyclopedia of Education, 8 vols.
     Ref LB 15 .E47

Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology

Encyclopedia of Educational Research, 4 vols.
     Ref LB 15 .E48

Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities
     Ref LC 4704.5 .T86

Encyclopedia of School Psychology
     Ref LB 1027.55 .E523

Encyclopedia of Special Education, 3 vols.
     Ref LC4007 .E53

Encyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education

Handbook of Learning Disabilities
     Ref LC4704 .H364

Learning Theories A-Z
     Ref LB 15 .L4695

Special Educator's Comprehensive Guide to 301 Diagnostic Tests
     Ref LC4019 .P53


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Search Tips

To search the library catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND:  use AND to link together search topics
    teaching methods AND learning disability
  • OR:  use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts
    autistic OR asperger syndrome
  • * :  use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings
    Type inclus* to pull up items with the words inclusive and inclusion
  • Quotation marks:  When performing keyword searches use quotation marks to search for your keywords as an exact phrase
    Type "attitudes toward disabilities" to look for the exact phrase of: attitudes toward disabilities. If you do not enclose your phrase with quotes the database will look for the terms attitudes and toward and disabilities as separate words throughout the entire record

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Subject Heading and Keyword Searching

There are two main ways to search the library catalogs and databases, by subject heading and by keyword. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, it is important therefore to know the best time to use each method.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are keywords that are assigned to books and articles that capture the item's key subject matter and themes. Use subject headings to look for materials on broad concepts such as learning disabilities or the Americans with Disabilities Act. The method of searching by subject heading will vary depending on what catalog or database you are using, please contact the Education Liaison Librarian if you need assistance in using the subject heading search functions.

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches work best if you are researching a narrow concept for example, examining how a particular learning theory is approached by inclusive educators. Keyword searches will look for your search term(s) in the citation, subject headings, abstract, and chapter titles (if available).

Examples of possible keyword searches relevant to this course include:

  • programs AND "hearing impaired"
  • "assistive technology" AND speech OR reading
  • "special needs student" AND mainstream OR inclus*
  • "pilot projects" AND blind OR visual* impair*

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Find Books/Secondary Sources

Geisel Library Catalog
The first step when looking for books is to search the Geisel Library Catalog. Remember that you can search by keyword or by subject heading.

Examples of possible subject heading searches include:

If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the ILL icon in the book's catalog record. Please be aware that items requested through WorldCat can take a week to two weeks to be delivered, it is important therefore to request books through WorldCat early in the research process.


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Find Journal Articles

Search the following databases to locate journal articles in the field of education. Many of the databases will require you to use WebBridge to locate the full text of an article. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

If you would like to browse Geisel Library's collection of education related print and electronic full text journals go to Journal Finder's Social Sciences Journals listing and scroll down until you see the heading for Education. You can then browse our journal collection by topic.

Core Education Research Databases

With over 1 million abstracts to journal articles and government reports, ERIC is the premier resource for locating research in the field of education. Search by keyword or by ERIC's thesaurus of subject headings to locate articles and documents of interest.

Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier indexes articles from a wide range of disciplines including the social sciences, humanities, and the hard sciences. You can use Academic Search Premier to locate research on the practice and study of education as well as the history, philosophy, and/or theory of education.

Additional Research Databases

PsycINFO (User Guide) and PsycARTICLES (User Guide)
Use PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES to locate articles on education, child development, and learning from a psychological perspective.

Use SocINDEX to research how education affects society and conversely, how society affects education. In addition to containing articles from an academic sociological approach, SocINDEX also contains articles on education from a social work practitioner perspective.


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Selected Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find. To learn more, see our Evaluating Websites page.

If when searching the Internet, you locate references to books or articles that you would like to view please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collection or through Interlibrary Loan.

Selected Websites

Council for Exceptional Children
"The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted." Because the CEC is a professional organization they have a tremendous amount of information for the practicing educator to utilize. Pay particular attention to the News & Issues, Policy & Advocacy, and CEC Blog pages.

LD Online
LD Online is an "interactive guide to learning disabilities for parents, teachers, and children." The Especially for Educators section contains teaching techniques and an information bank with articles, research findings, and news.

National Center for Special Education Research (U.S. Dept. of Education)
Use the NCSER website to access longitudinal studies on studies with disabilities.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
(OSERS) United States Department of Education
Use OSERS to access government research, statistics, and initiatives on special education issues.

Web Portals

Education World - Special Education Resources
Use Educations World's special education page to access lesson plan, assessment and curriculum development resources on special education. This is a great resource to research pilot projects, innovative instruction techniques, and assistive technology.

Family Village (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Waisman Center)
Use to locate information on assistive technology, legislation, health care, social activities, and research helpful to those with disabilities.

Internet Public Library - Special Education Collection
Use the IPL website to access other websites that discuss assistive technology, learning disabilities, inclusion, and other related special education issues.

Internet Special Education Resources
Use the Internet Special Education Resource webpage as a directory to special education resources, services, and research.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
Use the NICHCY website as a directory to schools, health care providers, and state agencies that specialize in services for children with disabilities.

School Psychology Resources Online
This website contains information on specific conditions, disorders, and disabilities, as well as information on the development and behavior of youth.


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Assistive Technology Resources

In addition to searching the Geisel Library Catalog for research on assistive technology, consult the Internet resources listed below. These resources are a mix of news, current awareness, advocacy, and product review and promotion sources.

Geisel Library also subscribes to journals that publish special education research many of which contain information on assistive technology resources. Examples of journal titles that contain information on assistive technology resources include: Assistive Technology, EduTech Report, Journal of Special Education Technology, Journal of Special Education, Technology and Disability, and Technology & Learning.

Lastly, you may also want to consult YouTube to look for video demonstrations of the assistive technology device that you choose to examine.

Ability Hub: Assistive Technology Solutions


Alliance for Technology Access

American Foundation for the Blind

Assistive Technology in New Hampshire

Assistive Technology News

Assistive Technology Training Online Project

Association for Assistive Technology Act Programs

CAST: Center for Applied Special Technology

Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access

CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information

ConnSENSE Bulletin

LD Resources

South Carolina Assistive Technology Program

WATI: Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative


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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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