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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Experiential and Outdoor Education

Your guide to research in experiential and outdoor education

Best Journal Article Search Tools


The OneSearch box attempts to search across all of our most popular databases. For more options, please use the Articles/Databases link above.

Databases don't handle natural language as well as Google, but the good news is that databases have all kinds of advanced features you will love. By all means, use both, but when searching databases, try these tips:

  • Break your search up in keywords and phrases -- only the most important concepts. Chances are that you will be looking at a concept within your field in relationship to one or more other concepts.  So, if you wanted to look at the role of social justice in experiential education, you would look at both concepts in your search: social justice experiential education -- no need to write a sentence!
  • Connect your keywords and phrases with the operator 'and' -- to tell the databases you only want articles with the concepts: social justice and experiential education
  • Use quotes around exact phrases -- to tell the databases you only want the exact phrases -- those words in that order: "social justice" and "experiential education"
  • Connect and group similar words in parentheses with the operator 'or' -- when you have similar keywords and phrases or synonyms for the same concept use or statements in parentheses: "social justice" and ("experiential education" or "outdoor education")

This way of searching takes a little getting used to, but it's worth it! If you ever find yourself searching, but not finding what you need, please reach out to a librarian. 

Google Scholar

Google Scholar ranks the most frequently cited articles higher in your result list. Often full text is available via open access resources or author copies. To be linked to Hunter Library full text, use the link on this page or the database list to be routed through the proxy server and identified as a WCU student, faculty or staff. Click on the Find@WNCLN-UNCA,WCU link to access library subscription resources.  

One very useful feature of Google Scholar is that you can see subsequent articles that cited the original article by clicking on the cited by link. Tracking citations forward is a great way to find more recent research on your topic. 

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