The guide provides an overview of the specific features of information retrieval in the field of education. The information is particularly suitable for students working on their thesis or dissertation, but also for more advanced information seekers who need a revision. General guidance on scientific information seeking can be found in the Library tutorial.

Main types of publications in education

Knowledge formed by educational research is published in books, journals and conference papers.

  1. Books are the most traditional form of publication in the field. The content of a scientific book can be either a single unity (= a monograph) or a collection of articles (= a compilation).
  2. Today, the most important form of publication in education is peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Articles appear in both international and national journals.
  3. The use of conference papers from conference presentations as sources should be considered carefully, as they are subject to little regulation: some may be peer-reviewed, but not all.

NOTE: Not all publications in the field of education are scientific. Reports, reviews and assessments prepared for administrative purposes may provide insights, e.g. for a thesis, as may articles in professional journals, which as a type of publication fall somewhere between scientific knowledge and general knowledge.

All of these can be the subject of research or can be referred to, for example in the introduction, but  when looking for a reference for the research, always use scientific sources.

Searching articles

Articles on education can be found in 1) the discipline's own databases and 2) multidisciplinary databases.
Also available are 3) article search in JYKDOK and 4) Google Scholar.

For more information on which is suitable for which situation, see below.

1) Educational databases

ERIC (ProQuest)

  • Database for educational science, with search limitation by e.g. educational level.
  • User guide inJYKDOK, check also the ProQuest Quick Guide 

PsycINFO (Ebsco)


Additional information: Finnish scientific journals 

The advantages of searching in educational databases are that they are specialized in storing and searching for information specifically related to education. This means that the information is more selective, you can apply relevant restrictions while searching it and you can usually get a search result that is large enough to go through everything.

2) Multidisciplinary databases

In multidisciplinary databases, it is profitable to focus your search on sources in your field.
For example, in Scopus: do a search --> select Subject Area: social sciences from the left.

Multidisciplinary databases give an overview of how much research has been done on a subject. The search results are usually high, because these databases are not, as their name suggests, exclusively focused on education.

3) International articles search in JYKDOK

  • Do a search and select as a tab the International articles search OR before searching select the International articles search from the JYKDOK home page.
  • You can limit the search results to peer-reviewed articles.

NOTE! Use the JYKDOK article tabs for quick searches and when you already know the title of an article and want to find it. More specific searches are done in databases in your field.

4) Google Scholar

  • Despite its name, Google Scholar also contains other than scientific information, so the scientific nature of the search results must always be assessed separately! Results cannot be limited to peer-reviewed publications / articles.
  • NOTE! The number of citations an article has received (cited by) does not directly indicate its scientific merit and reliability, as the service does not estimate who cited it.
  • One way to assess this is to look at where the article was published and check the journal's ranking on the Publication Forum. A scientific journal has a level 1, 2 or 3.

TIP: For remote access, login to JYKDOK with your JYU ID to get more articles to read in Google Scholar instead of colliding the paywall.

Google Scholar can be used as a search gateway alongside the databases.

Finding books

  1. JYKDOK : to find books, go to our collection database (includes e.g. basic works and the text books)
    • Handbook and method guides can be found for example by the search [name of the discipline] AND "research methodology"
  2. Finna: books not in JYKDOK collection may be found in Finna, which is the union catalogue of Finnish libraries, museums and archives.


  • Dissertations in the Finna database (narrow down the search results from Material type > Thesis > Dissertations).
  • University of Jyväskylä thesis and dissertations in JYKDOK.

Remember that theses are not used as scientific sources, as they rarely correspond to the level of scientific research.

Information about research methods

Other sources and tips

Instructions for most common problematic situations (e-books, payment walls etc.)

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