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EDUC 8112 Module 2 Assignment 2: Module 2 Assignment 2

Assignment Description

For Module 2, Assignment 2, you will find articles and create a bibliography, including a 1 1/2 - 2 page annotation for one article.

This guide covers some strategies you can use to search for articles on your topic:

Select search keywords

For each of your research topics, you'll want to start by building a list of keywords that you can use for your search.

Keywords need to match the words that authors have used when writing articles on that topic. You'll want to pick words that you would expect to see in an article's title or abstract. This will help you get the most relevant articles at the top of your results list.

Here is an example of a topic and possible keywords:

Topic: How does limited access to technology affect the success of low-income students?

technology student success low income
computers student achievement poverty
internet academic achievement poor
digital divide


Focus on the main concepts, avoiding words that are vague or implied. For example, using a general term like "affect" can greatly limit your results. First, an author may only use words for a single, specific effect (e.g. technology use raises student achievement). Second, there are many alternative phrasings that can look at the effects of something (e.g. impact, result, consequence, etc.), and it's unlikely you'll be able to brainstorm them all. You'll get better results if you brainstorm specific effects (e.g. academic achievement) instead of using "affect/effect" as a keyword. 

The term low income might look incomplete, but it captures low-income student, low-income family, low-income household, etc. Likewise, you might instead use simply success or achievement.

Note: Using the term social change can backfire. While social change is integral to your topic, articles themselves will likely not explicitly say, "Investigating this issue is critical for social change." 

When you include such terms (social change, social justice, equality, etc.), you may miss relevant research that implies social change but doesn't directly discuss it or use the exact words you choose. You can experiment with such terms—no harm in trying! But don't assume there there is nothing on your topic if you get few or no results.

Instead, search without it. Authors may address social change (in whatever form, with whatever precise wording), or they might not. Either way, in your assignment you can discuss the social change implications and opportunities yourself as part of your own critical analysis.


Learn more about keyword searching.

Build a search in the library databases

The next step is to use your keywords to build a search within a library database. While each database has a unique collection, and may look slightly different, these general steps will work in every library database.

Below is an example search using the keywords provided in the box above.

1.  From the library website, look for the Subject Resources box and click on the Select a subject drop-down:

2.  Click the Education option.  Now you will see the Education Research guide. This guide has links to the databases used most often for Education research.

3.  Select a database. This search example uses ERIC, one of our Education subject databases. Scroll down to the Education Databases box.  Click the ERIC link.  You may need to log in with your myWalden user name and password.

NOTE: There are many databases you can use for this assignment. You may want to try more than one database, since each database has a different collection of articles.

See the bottom of this box for a list of relevant databases, and more information about each one.


4.  Type your keywords into the search boxes. Place keywords for a single concept into one box, using "or" between each one. This tells the database to find articles that have any of those terms.

     For example, first search box:  

      digital divide or technology or internet

     Second search box:  

academic achievement or student achievement or student success

     Third search box:

poverty or poor or low income


Learn more about "or" and other Boolean operators.

5.  Add limits to your search. The limits you choose will depend on what you need to find. Check the Scholarly Peer-Reviewed box, if the database you are using includes the option. You can also add a date limit.

Learn more about database limiters


Click to see a larger image of this search page.

6.  Click the Search button. See if the articles are relevant by reading titles and abstracts.

Learn about identifying original research studies (the next box down).

7.  Refine your search if you need to improve your results.

One way to refine a search is to explore the Subjects (available in ERIC and Education Source) for alternative keywords. Subjects are the official, preferred terms for concepts within a database. If you search using these terms, you will find more precise results. They can also give you ideas for aspects you haven't considered.

Article information with these subject terms highlighted: access to computers, disadvantaged, socioeconomic status, and achievement gap.

Add these terms to your search or use them instead of your original keywords.

Learn more about using subject terms.

Education Databases

Identify research studies (empirical articles)

After a search, read article titles and abstracts to see if they address your topic and look for indications that the author(s) conducted original research. Click the article title to see the abstract.

Some abstracts clearly identify the major components of an original research study:

Article abstract with section headings highlighted: Purpose, Design/methodology/approach, Findings, and Originality/Value


Other abstracts are less structured but still readily indicate whether it's a research study:

Abstract with the following highlighted: quantitative and qualitative data were collected, analyzed, and compared; results of the study revealed; quantitative data did not reveal; qualitative data indicated; results of the study have implications.

Your Assignment and Module 2 Resources pages in your course include references to more information about identifying empirical research.

Create your bibliography

The final step of the assignment is to create the bibliography and write your annotation for one of the articles.


APA Citations


All citations will need to be created using the rules in the APA's 6th edition manual. Here are some resources that can help you create/edit your citations:




You can use Zotero to collect citation information and create the bibliography. Zotero is a free tool you can download from the Internet. It's not perfect, so you'll need to edit all citations created by it, but it can still save you time and keep you organized.

Zotero's website

Zotero Guide from the Walden Library


Writing Your Annotation

Your assignment has specific requirements for each paragraph of the annotation you will be writing. The following resources may help you with the writing portion of your assignment: