MAT Blog

5 of the Best Sites for Finding Academic Research

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 11, 2014 9:47:23 AM

academic_researchThe academic year is winding down for most of us, but my students still haven’t turned in their final research papers yet—and many of them are still gathering their sources! In addition to using the books and academic journals our school subscribes to, here are five of what I consider to be the best sites for finding academic research.

5 of the Best Sites for Finding Academic Research

Google books is bursting at the seams with millions (yes, MILLIONS) of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text and stored in its digital database just for you, dear reader. Although those tricky little guys at Google have wisely omitted several pages from the book to encourage you to purchase it, you can still view large sections of the book and use it as a source.

iSEEK Educationis an academic research engine specifically designed for students, teachers, and administrators. Here are some of iSeek’s perks:

  • It’s safe: Every resource you’ll find through iSeek is editor-reviewed
  • It’s reliable: Search hundreds of thousands of trusted resources from universities, government, and noncommercial providers
  • It’s a time-saver: Register to bookmark any URL for storage in your own online library

RefSeek is still in public beta, but I’ve had a lot of luck with this search engine. RefSeek gives students access to more than 1 billion documents, web pages, books, journals, and newspapers. What I really appreciate about the site is how clean the interface is—no ads, sponsored links or commercial results appear when you use RefSeek.

Virtual Learning Resource Center doesn’t omit Google ads, but unlike searches done directly in Google, Virtual LRC conducts its searches on a much smaller scale, using only academic websites previously recommended by teachers and librarians.

Academic Index is another useful search engine that bypasses all the junk you’ll encounter with a Google search, directing users to only those websites previously selected by librarians and teachers.

Photo credit: suttonhoo / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


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Tags: research strategies, web research, writing skills, writing a thesis statement

Citelighter : a cure for the common research paper?

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Oct 4, 2013 4:43:00 PM

research paperWhen our students are faced with research projects, finding information is rarely an issue. It’s the overabundance of information—some good, some not—that often overwhelms them. And once they find reliable online sources, what do they do with them? How do they organize information without spending a fortune on printing ink and paper? Citelighter is a new online platform that may offer your students a remedy.

After students download the Citelighter browser extension, they can create a project and conduct Internet searches that target specific keywords. Once they find useful information, they simply highlight, press capture and the information, along with the source’s bibliographic information, will relocate to their project box. Students can visit their project at any time during their web browsing, add comments and rearrange their research simply by dragging and dropping.

If you are concerned about the quality of research your students are finding, rest easy. Citelighter’s partnership with newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals gives your students access to thousands of credible, peer-reviewed sources.

Another noteworthy feature is Citelighter’s resource directory where students will find videos and tutorials from research experts. What tops it all off is the fact that teachers can access student accounts to gain insight into how they are researching.

To learn more about Citelighter, check out the video below.


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Tags: research strategies, writing strategies, Writing, writing fluency, writing skills

Six Ways to Build a Foundation for Learning through Research.

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Apr 29, 2012 1:01:00 PM

Marygrove MAT offers research-based pointers to get the most from students.Educational research did not hold a lot of meaning for me as an undergraduate student. After spending time in the classroom, I developed a context to frame my understanding. I realized that small changes in my approach could have a significant impact on students’ beliefs and performance. Revisiting motivational theory helped me to establish a foundation for independent learning despite the push to “cover” content. Here are six research-based pointers that K-12 teachers can use now, along with the official terms to impress everyone with your knowledge in the teacher’s lounge!

1. Promote positive beliefs about learning. A child’s underlying beliefs, including the ability to be successful in a task, are directly tied to self-motivation and self-regulation. 

  1. Use “Constructive Failure:”  We must promote recognition of failure as a learning experience.  Children who learn to attribute success or failure to effort as opposed to factors outside their control will exert greater effort in the future.
  1. Foster “Incremental” versus “Entity Theory” of Intelligence:   Discouraging the belief that intelligence is “fixed” biologically and unchangeable can enhance motivation. We must help students to understand that intelligence is “incremental” and can be increased through a student’s own learning behavior. (Burhans & Dweck, as cited in Stipek, 2002)
  1. Encourage “Internal” versus “External Locus of Control:” Students who believe that events in their lives are controlled by forces outside themselves (luck, chance, fate, biased others) are said to have an external locus of control.  We must socialize students to believe that outcomes are generally contingent on their own behavior (internal locus of control). (Dweck, 2000 as cited in Stipek, 2002)
  1. Avoid Comparisons and Competition: Teachers should avoid inadvertent comparisons to classmates. This tends to cause anxiety and frequently undermines effort and motivation. As much as possible, students should be encouraged to compete against themselves by measuring their own progress and setting goals. Oftentimes, what looks like a cooperative activity is really a competitive activity; e.g. when table one competes with table two.
  1. Limit the Use of Rewards:  Studies have shown that overuse of tangible rewards can actually hinder motivation to learn. Rewards can be most effective when motivation is low and/or when a task is unpleasant.  When motivation is already high, rewards have been shown to reduce children’s desire to complete a task. Extrinsic rewards should be removed once a pattern of motivation has been developed.  When tangible incentives are used for the long term, studies have shown that children can lose sight of the learning goal and focus only on earning the reward. (Brophy, 2002)

The American educational theorist Edward Hutchings believed that “the object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” Reinforcing healthy attitudes and beliefs, in combination with the teaching of skills and meaningful content, will have transformative value in how students perceive their own education.

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Margaret Reed earned an MAEd from Michigan State University and taught middle and high school history for ten years. She has been a Marygrove mentor since 2009. As an outgrowth of her work in curriculum development at the secondary level, Margaret is pursuing further graduate studies with the goal of commencing a second career in instructional technology design.


Brophy, J. (2004). Motivating Students to Learn (2nd ed.) Mawah, New Jersey: Laurence Erlbaum and Associates.

Stipek, D. (2002). Motivation to Learn: Integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.



Tags: independent learning, research strategies, best practice in education

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