Marx Library, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688-0002

Library Resources for SPE 510

These reference sources may help you find good information for this class. This page is by no means comprehensive; rather, it is intended to serve as a starting point for your research. For further assistance, please contact the Reference Desk.

to top of page

Library Links:

  • Marx Library Homepage - University of South Alabama
  • SOUTHcat - the catalog of the libraries of the University of South Alabama. It contains records for books, e-books, journal titles, DVDs, CDs, videos, and government documents held by the libraries.
  • Our Journal List - the database of all the journals we subscribe to in print and electronically. Once you have a citation to an article, go here to see if the Libraries have a subscription to this particular volume, issue and year of the journal you need. Occasionally the information is incorrect and/or unclear. Call us at 460-7025 if you have any question about the availability of these journals. (Note: Some magazine and journal publishers "embargo" the latest year of electronic versions. This means that the most recent issues will not be available online for a year from their publication date.)
  • Special Education Topic Guide - Resources selected by USA Librarians
  • Graduate Student Services - Information about library services available to USA graduate students
to top of page

Library Catalog:

The catalog contains records for books, e‐books, journals, CD‐ROMs, CDs, DVDs, videos, and government documents held by the libraries at the University of South Alabama.

Search tips:

  • Keyword searches – use quotation marks to hold phrases together ("special education")
  • Truncation – use ? after the root of a word to find all its variants (educat? finds educator, educators, education...)
  • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)
  • Revise and refine your searches
  • Watch for repeating call numbers and browse stacks in that area
  • Pay attention to the Location and Status fields. You will need this information to locate the item in the library.
to top of page


The library subscribes to a large number of databases, covering a wide range of topics. These indexes and databases contain articles from academic journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. Use these to identify articles on specific topics, as well as to locate full-text electronic articles. Find them on the Articles, Indexes, and Databases page linked from the Library homepage. Remote access is available for most journals.

Once you have chosen your paper topic, consult a librarian to see which databases are the best suited for your reseach. The following databases will be a good place to start for most topics.

  • ERIC: Education's disciplinary index.
    • EJ: ERIC contains references and abstracts for journal articles(EJ) from over 980 educational and education-related journals from 1966 onward.
    • ED: It also contains citations and abstracts for unpublished documents (ED), such as speeches, conference proceedings, teacher-made curriculum guides and much more. Many of these are now fulltext online. But older ERIC documents(ED) are also available in microfiche by ED number on the Second Floor South of the Marx Library.
    • ERIC Digests are:
      • short reports (1,000 - 1,500 words) on topics of prime current interest in education
      • targeted specifically for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other practitioners, but generally useful to the broad educational community.
      • designed to provide an overview of information on a given topic, plus references to items providing more detailed coverage
    • TIP: ERIC uses a controlled vocabulary for its subjects, so check the print or online Thesaurus to be sure you are using the correct ERIC term for your topic - for example, "multiculturalism" is not a subject heading (also called "descriptor"). Use "cultural pluralism" instead. Use "academic achievement" for "academic success."
    • TIP: Do not search more than one EBSCO database at the same time you are searching ERIC - the Thesaurus button near the top of the page disappears as do some of the other search helpers!
    • TIP: Scroll down the search page or use "refine search" button to find other ways to limit and focus your searches, such as selecting only "journal articles" and/or "reports - research/technical" to get research articles.
  • Education Research Complete: Contains scholarly research and information relating to all areas of education, from early childhood to higher education, as well as to administration, policy, funding, and related social issues. Education Research Complete contains indexing and abstracts for more than 1500 journals, and full-text for more than 750 journals. It also includes full-text for more than 100 books and monographs, as well as numerous conference papers.

    Education Research Complete is similar to ERIC and Professional Development Collection in its search interface; however, each database uses a different thesaurus or index of subjects. For example, Education Research Complete uses the term "Absenteeism," whereas in ERIC the thesaurus term is "Attendance." In Professional Development Collection, the subject term is "School attendance."

  • Professional Development Collection: Contains many full-text articles, but is not as large or comprehensive as ERIC.
  • Sage Journals Online: provides online access to the full text of individual SAGE journals.
to top of page

Searching Specific Journals

To search within a specific journal, from the library homepage follow the Our Journal List link. Enter the title of the journal in the search box and click "Go". The results screen will indicate which electronic indexes contain that journal, and the date ranges covered. Click on the electronic index to search.

Click here to view a brief Flash tutorial showing this process.

to top of page

Class Handouts

to top of page