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SPAN 360: Teaching and Learning Spanish (HC) Spring 2015

Education/Spanish 360: The Teaching and Learning of Spanish (Lopez-Sanchez) Spring 2015

Tips for Searching Part 1

Subject Headings allow you to find relevant material grouped together including titles that do not use the keywords you may have been searching.


Finding subject headings

Look at a book record in Tripod, check the subjects assigned to it, and choose whatever ones are relevant for your research.

Example:  The Multilingual Turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL and Bilingual Education, by Stephen May, Routledge, 2014.


            Second language acquisition Study and teaching

            Education, Bilingual

            Multicultural education

            Subject search Education, Bilingual =423 results


Refining subject searches

You can combine different concepts into a single subject search for precision.  The results are more focused than a keyword search.

But all the words have to be terminology used in library subject cataloging.

To ensure this, you can use subject headings you have already found.  Another option is to browse in the subject headings for more choices.                   

      Combination subject search:

            "Education, Bilingual United States Case studies" OR "Education, Bilingual

            United States Evaluation"=15 targeted results

Suggested Subject Headings

The following links are subject searches for journal articles, and they retrieve a vast amount of results. Remember to narrow your search by using keywords and limiting by date, format, and other facets.

Tips for Searching Part 2

If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review.  At the same time overly narrow search terms can return too few results.  One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.

For example, a search for "Spanish language learner" AND curriculum will return items that contain both "Spanish language learner" and "curriculum":


bilingual OR multilingual returns items that contain either one of the terms or both:

"Immigrant students" NOT "higher education" returns items that talk about immigrant students from pre-K to 12th grade but not beyond:

Phrase searching:

An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("SIOP model") or titles:

For example, "bilingual education"

will search for those words in that order, finding the 2013 text by Nancy Lemberger.


Truncation and Wildcards:

Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.

For example, one could search for educat*  to find educate, educates, education, educating, and so on.

Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.


Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

For example, (bilingual* OR multilingual*) AND (educat* OR learn*) will return results for the union of the two subject areas.

In the ERIC database this search returns results including:  Alanis, I. (2011). Learning from each other: Bilingual pairs in dual-language classrooms. Dimensions of Early Childhood, 39(1), 21-28.