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EDFOUND 781: Foundations of Gifted and Talented Education: 2. Identify Search Terms

A guide to conducting a literature review

Strategy: Using Thesaurus Terms

Databases use controlled keywords known as thesaurus terms or subject headings or descriptors to categorize each article or record. For example, many library catalogs use Library of Congress subject headings. The thesaurus terms vary for each database according to their indexing system. For example,

You might say "ESL Students"

ERIC uses the subject heading "English Language Learners"  

Education Source (EBSCO) uses the term  "LIMITED English-proficient students"

If you choose to search multiple databases simultaneously, try using the OR search connector to capture all articles that use the variations of this concept. For example:

"English Language Learners" OR "Limited English-proficient students" OR "ESL Students"

 subjects and descriptors





The thesaurus may be labeled Thesaurus, Subjects, or Descriptors depending on the database.

Using Subject Searches and Thesauri in EBSCOHost Databases

View this brief tutorial to review the purpose and use of thesaurus terms in searching.