Skip to Main Content

Researching Issues in Child Development (Osburn)

A guide for students in MJC's Child Development program, specifically Randi Osburn's courses, as well as any student researching issues pertaining to early childhood education.

Mind Your Language

Why Do Search Words Matter?

The English language is as rich and diverse as the people who speak it.  Our age, the part of the country we inhabit, our ethnic and cultural backgrounds....all of these factors affect the words we use (and don't use) on a daily basis.  Is that a car you're driving? Or an automobile? Or a vehicle? Or is it simply your ride?  Is that  person over there a teenager or a teen or an adolescent or a young adult? It depends who you are talking to, doesn't it?

Search tools are sort of like us: rich and diverse. Some tools work well with keyword searches, while others function best if you can zero in on the specific subject term preferred by that tool.  By using the right search terms you can be more successful at finding the exact information you need for your research paper or project. So how do you know what the "right" term is?

  1. Pay attention to terminology as you conduct your preliminary reading. Background research is a great way to pick up synonyms.
  2. If you are using a database that assigns subject headings/terms, pay attention to them. If you find a relevant article on a database, examine the list of subject headings/terms connected to that article and add them to your list.
  3. Talk to a research librarian! Research librarians are out doing research every single day! Chances are good that they've explored your topic with another student and will have some great ideas.



Background Reading

Many students turn to Wikipedia for their initial exploration of a topic. This is fine, but be sure to augment your background research with sources you can actually include on an academic bibliography (a.k.a. your References list).

Conduct background research because:

  • It is a great source of core knowledge on your topic
  • It can generate ideas on different ways to focus your topic
  • It can answer research questions you've already posed
  • It may help you clarify and/or expand research questions.
  • It often points you towards other sources of information on your topic 

The list below includes both print and online resources to help you get started with your preliminary reading.

All of these resources are free for MJC students, faculty, and staff. If you're working from off campus, you'll need to sign in. Once you click on the name of a database or eBook, simply enter your student ID (without the W) and your six-digit birth date.

Noteworthy child development titles within GVRL include: 

Finding Information in Databases

Specialized education databases we have access to include the following:

In addition, consider using some of our general databases to find information on your topic. Two commonly used databases are from Gale and EBSCO:

Child Development on the Web

Use these credible Web resources to build upon the knowledge you have already gained about your topic through your reading of books and articles. One of the best ways to evaluate Web resources is to compare what you read on the Web to what you have already learned from all of your other research.

Child Development: Sponsored by the Center for Disease Control

Early Learning Resources: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education


Using & Finding Books

Why Use Books:

Use books to read broad overviews and detailed discussions of your topic. You can also use books to find primary sources, which are often published together in collections.

Where Do I Find Books?

You'll use the library catalog to search for books, ebooks, articles, and more.

What if MJC Doesn't Have What I Need?

If you need materials (books, articles, recordings, videos, etc.) that you cannot find in the library catalog, use our interlibrary loan service.

Use Google Scholar

Use Google Scholar to find scholarly information on the Web.

Google Scholar Search