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A guide for locating sources supporting Education and related subjects.

Elements of Research

Selected Federal Data Sources

Selected Idaho and State Data Sources

Additional Data Sets

There is a variety of tools you can use to locate possible instruments (surveys, questionnaires, scales, interview questions, etc.) for data collection. Some of these tools include research journal articles, dissertations, data collection repositories, databases, and books. Instruments that are mentioned in the Methods section of research articles are sometimes added as an appendix at the end of the article. Other times, you may have to contact the author of the article to find out if they will share a copy of the instrument with you. NOTE: Make sure to also ask for permission to adapt the instrument, as necessary, to fit your specific research needs. 

Measures for Clinical Practice & Research

If your project or assignment requires that you find a simple assessment instrument, survey, or evaluation tool, Measures for Clinical Practice and Research (see below) are a great resource. The assessment appears in full in these volumes.     

  • COPYRIGHT NOTE: If test says "May be copied from this volume" you are allowed to copy and use without getting permission of the author (you should still cite your source). If you do not see this phrase, you will be provided with contact information for the author so that you can request and obtain permission before using.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is an overview of the scholarly literature (books, journal articles) on a given topic. This part of your dissertation or thesis provides the reader with a sense that you have done a thorough survey of the literature to identify the key ideas and concepts central to your topic. The literature review is a mix of summary and critique. The following resources will help you navigate the process of developing a literature review.

There is a process by which the literature review is completed. The elements of the process include: 1) pre-search, 2) research, 3) writing, and 4) refining.

        The pre-search process helps you get an idea of possible topics to explore. 

  • Google Scholar is an excellent tool to use for this stage in the process.  A search in Google Scholar will provide a broad scope of the literature landscape. You can also get an idea of the essential researchers in your area of interest. For example, look to see how many times an author has been cited by others.
  • Bonus: You will be able to see a full-text link for items you can find at Riley Library! Click here for instructions on setting up your Google Scholar profile to display NNU results.

The research process involves searching EBSCO and ProQuest, the NNU library, and accessing articles and book chapters from other libraries through interlibrary loan.

The writing process comes when you have collected the sources you have identified as being central to your thesis/hypothesis. This gives you time to read and re-read the sources to gain a deeper understanding of the content and how it applies to your thesis. 

The refining process comes after you have written your draft and have read (or have had someone else read) your draft. This provides you with the opportunity to clarify your thesis and/or locate additional sources to help provide the foundation for your thesis.

The following three videos provide an overview of the literature review process. The second video addresses some common misconceptions and errors to avoid.

Zotero is a free, web-based citation management system. It will allow you to sync between devices, and to coordinate with your primary web browser so that you can add citations for sources from a variety of locations. The video playlist below will walk you through the download, installation, setup, and use of Zotero. 


If you have questions about using Zotero, or getting Zotero to work on your device, please contact a librarian.