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Searching ERIC

(Educational Resources Information Center)

Alliant Library Home Page

The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) produces the world’s premier database of journal and non-journal education literature.  The centralized ERIC Website searches the ERIC bibliographic database of more than 1.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added multiple times per week.  If available, links to full text are included. Using the EBSCO version of ERIC you will also get links to journal articles that are available on other EBSCO databases.


Access: Alliant students, faculty and staff members:

From the Alliant Library’ home page, click on Research Databases then the version of ERIC you wish to search.  For off-campus/wifi users, if you don’t log into “My Library Account” first, you will be prompted for your user name (full name) and  6-digit Alliant ID or 14-digit barcode. (Pop-ups & cookies will need to be enabled.)

Within the ERIC Collection, you will find records for:

  • Journal articles -- the majority of which are peer-reviewed. Journal records typically include bibliographic data (author, title, date, journal citation, publisher) and an abstract, or short description of the work. A small number of journal publishers also make the full text of an article available at no cost directly through this Web site. The majority of journal articles need to be obtained through library print and electronic holdings or directly from the publisher. To aid in the finding process, ERIC includes Find in a Library and/or Publisher's Web site links at the end of every record with an ISSN number.
  • Books, research syntheses, conference papers, technical reports, policy papers, & other education-related materials.  Records for these materials typically include bibliographic data (author, title, date, source), an abstract, or short description of the work, and a link to the full text in PDF format. ERIC appreciates the individuals and publishers who have given ERIC permission to display the full text at no charge. For most materials from 2004 forward, if full text is not available in ERIC, links to the publishers' Web sites and to libraries that may have the full text are provided.

ERIC citations come in two formats:

ED[6-digit number] denotes documents not published in journals. This can include reports, proceedings, spec kits, policies and procedures.   Many of these are not held by any libraries or are only held in microfiche; therefore often ERIC Documents cannot be found through interlibrary loans.  The citation information will provide any known information on where to find a copy.

EJ[6-digit number] denotes journal articles.  Search Encore from the Library home page for links to the full-text or print availability of the journal title. Or try the Citation Finder on the Databases page. If the article is not available online it may be possible to get through Interlibrary Loans [see link on Library home page].


The ERIC thesaurus can be used to refine terms before searching. All web versions of ERIC have an online searchable thesaurus.


Searching the databases:

ERIC in EBSCO: (See search guide for search EBSCO available on the library home page).

  • Select ERIC from list of Databases.  Or you can select “EBSCOhost Research Databases” and select ERIC from list of available EBSCO databases.  If you wish to search additional databases including Education Research Complete and Academic Search Premier (good source of full-text journal articles) you can also select from list. 
  • Type in search terms.  Default is keyword.  You can limit search terms to the abstract, author, subject, title, etc.  You can also limit by year and publication type, either document or journal.
  • Results list:  The result screen is split into three sections.  The middle section shows the list of first 10 results.  Each citation shows title [of article], author(s), source [journal title], accession number (ED or EJ), and links to full-text (if available).  Citations are usually listed from most recent to oldest but can be re-sorted by author, relevance or source.
  • Retrieving and printing ERIC documents (ED) from PDF files (using Adobe Acrobat Reader) can be extremely slow so be patient.  Make sure you select the print icon on the PDF file and not the one on the background browser screen.
  • It is recommended that you print or email each full-text record separately.  If you mark citations to email or print you may not get the full-text.

ERIC on government website (

  • Click on ERIC from government link on Databases page.
  • Default search is basic keywords (all fields).  You can also search by title, author, descriptor [thesaurus] or ERIC number.
  • Advance search: Use advance search if you wish to use multiple search terms separated by Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) and limit to a particular field like author, title, source or descriptors.  You can also limit by publication date range, publication type (books, theses, journal articles, etc.), ED or EJ only, full-text available only, peer-reviewed, and educational level.
  • After typing in search terms click on SEARCH.
  • Result list:  Top left of the screen shows number of results.  Each citation shows title of item, author(s), source [journal name and citation or document source].publication date, publication type, whether it is peer-reviewed, descriptors, abstract, and full-text availability. Click on link to see the complete abstract.
  • If the document (ED) is available full-text you will see the Adobe Acrobat icon and the underlined phrase “ERIC full text [document size)”.  PDF files may be large and download times depend on the speed of your Internet connection.  Remember when printing or downloading PDF files use the icons on the PDF screen, not the browser screen.
  • Narrow your search – on the left side of the screen you can narrow your search by Author, Thesaurus Descriptor, Dates, Audience, Source, Education Level, & Publication Type.

To output selected results (it is recommended that you open all PDF documents before printing or downloading):

Print/Save—If printing or saving a PDF document select the appropriate icon on the PDF document.

Download to flash memory drive—ERIC files are often large and will need to be downloaded to a high GB flash memory drive.

Email—If using the EBSCO version you can email citations in one of the industry standards (APA, MLA, etc.)  To email the full-text documents from the either ERIC web site you must retrieve or open the PDF file, save to hard drive and then open your email program and attach saved file(s).  Certain newer versions of Adobe do not allow the direct emailing of PDF documents.

This guide is to help you start your research.  For further research assistance please contact your home library.              09/11 wl/md; updated 10/14 es