Please read this once

What is the ERIC database?

ERIC is a database of abstracts of journal articles (Current Index to Journals in Education) and other resources (Resources in Education) including conference papers and state and local reports. While we provide a search engine, select documents are available from the ERIC Contractor ( Journal articles are often available from the publisher, inter-library loan, or perhaps Ingenta or Institute for Scientific Information.

What has happened to ERIC?

The US Department of Education decided to revise the structure of the ERIC System by eliminating all the ERIC clearinghouses and most of the services they provide. The government will continue to maintain the core ERIC database and is in the process of implementing some sorely needed improvements (faster turn-around time, free access to ERIC documents).

Using ERIC thesaurus for successful ERIC search

The query form will allow you to formulate the following search strategy:

[(set1) and (set2)] and (set3).

That is, located citations will contain any of the terms in (set1) and any of the terms in (set2) and any of the terms in (set3).

After you input a starting word or phrase, relevant parts of the ERIC Thesaurus will appear on the right. To look up a new word, either click on the hypertext link or enter a new word or phrase in the [Look Up] box at the bottom of the frame. To add terms to your query, click on the checkbox(es) next to the desired term(s) and then scroll to the bottom and click on an [Add to Set x] button. Push a [Submit to xx] button to start your search.


  1. To search for an author or word in title, enter the phrase in Set1, push Refresh, and then push Submit.
  2. Use "*" for wildcards.
  3. Put a "-" in front of a term to exclude cites referencing that term.
  4. When adding terms, use quotes (") around phrases, and comma (,) no space between terms to the OR'ed.

Database locations and differences

Using this Wizard, you can search the ERIC bibliographic database and full-text Digests mounted at the Some key features are:

  1. Different sites use different search engines. The order and look of citations will not be the same.
  2. We have  a "more like this" option. Other sites allows cross field searching and different advanced features.
  3. We cover journal articles (CIJE) and non-journal papers (RIE).
  4. We have the full database since 1966.


The SearchERIC site is set to time-out after 45 seconds of trying a search strategy. If this happens, try a less complicated search. Try to use fewer phrases and fewer terms.

About ERIC, the ERIC database and the ERIC Thesaurus

The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) database is the world's largest source of education information. The database contains more than 1,000,000 abstracts of documents and journal articles on education research and practice. More than 100,000 documents are now available on-line, on-demand. Journal articles can be ordered through various journal reprint services.  ERIC is a federally-funded project of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. 

The ERIC Thesaurus represented in this search interface offers an effective gateway to the ERIC documents database. The ERIC Thesaurus has been developed as the list of descriptors, or controlled vocabulary, by which ERIC citations are indexed. Via this interface, you can navigate the thesaurus to ensure that you are using the words in our controlled vocabulary for more accurate, fruitful search results. As you navigate the thesaurus, you will encounter for most terms a definition along with identified related terms, broader terms, and narrower terms. Be sure to read the instructions in Help for easy navigation of the thesaurus.

The thesaurus content is the result of 30 years of work and refinement by the ERIC system. The Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors, cited by the American National Standards Institute as an exemplary model in its 1993 explication of the Z 39.19 Standard (Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri), offers scope notes, or definitions, articulated by the U.S. Department of Education's Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). In addition to offering definitions, arrays of related terms are offered to help the searcher to pinpoint the desired concept as presented in ERIC's Thesaurus. Jim Houston spearheaded this amazing and widely recognized effort.

Related sites, pages, and pointers:

ERIC System page

U.S. Dept. of Education

The National Library of Education


Document delivery services (Journals):


ISI - Institute for Scientific Information:


Known bugs and limitations:

  • Version 2.1 of the wizard does not work properly if your Browser does not accept frames.
  • Search strings are limited to 240 characters.
  • Complicated searches, especially those with multiple expressions, can take a long time.

Many patrons have asked about author and document number searching. Yes, you can enter the author's last name, "ED" numbers, "EJ" numbers, and clearinghouse identifers. The Wizard will tell you the term is not in the thesaurus, but you can still enter the term into the search engine. Leave "Limited to:" to "not limited."

Hint: If you make changes to what the Wizard has entered above or if you change the Limited to option, push the "Refresh" button after you have made your edits and before you push "Submit".

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