Special Education MEd Program Guide

Special Education MEd Program Guide

Welcome to this Program Guide.

Purpose: Help CUW graduate students in M.Ed. Special Education program.

Students will learn basic and advanced library searching skills necessary for success. 

Help Available: If you need help finding resources, please feel free to contact librarians at Ask a Librarian or on the Library Tab in the CUW Portal (phone, email, chat)

How to Use:  Start from the top and read all the tabs in order. Once you have completed the tutorial, return to specific tabs as needed.

APA Citation Style Guide 6th edition
APA Citation Style Guide 7th edition

Education Subject Guide

If you have never used CUW Library before there are a few  resources and procedures to learn.

1. Start Here: CUW Library Getting Started Guide

2. For more information about finding and accessing library materials:

Finding Books & Ebooks Guide

Finding Journal Articles Guide

Access your Library Account (VIDEO)

  1. Use books, ebooks, and reference books to learn about your research topic, identify important researchers, locate keywords for searching, and narrow your topic.
  2. Review our Literature Searching Tutorial for information on the types of resources recommended.
  3. Start with Subject Specific databases. See the Databases tab.
  4. Search Primo for access to journals specific to Primo.
  5. Use Interlibrary Loan to request items from other libraries. Graduate students utilize this service often.
  6. If you need more guidance, consider a research consultation with a CUW Librarian. We can even do video conferences with online students.

This video covers the basics of library databases. 

This video covers which journal articles in databases you can use.

More Databases: Databases A-Z List

Basics of searching: Using Databases Help Guide

Scholarly Articles

Education Database (ProQuest) Literature and articles on primary, secondary and higher education as well as special education, home schooling and adult education.

Education Source (EBSCOhost) This database provides scholarly research  for education students, professionals, and policy makers. It covers all levels of education — from early childhood to higher education — as well as all educational specialties such as multilingual education, health education, and testing. Content includes: full text and indexing for journals, books and monographs, conference papers, and book reviews.

Educational Administration Abstracts (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) Includes bibliographic records covering areas related to educational administration, including educational leadership, educational management, educational research, and other areas of key relevance to the discipline.

ERIC (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) Provides citation and abstract information for educational scholarly journals and related documents from the Educational Resource Information Center and educational symposium.  1967-present.

ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) Provides access to 80% of ERIC Documents (ED) from 1993 to the present. Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the full documents.

Gale OneFile: Educators Reference Complete (Gale) This database seeks to provide full text for titles in the Eric database and covers multiple levels of education from preschool to college, and every educational specialty--such as technology, bilingual education, health education, and testing. It also provides insight on issues in administration, funding, and policy.

Professional Development Collection (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) High quality scholarly education journals and educational reports.

Classroom Content

Children’s Core Collection (H.W. Wilson) (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) Fiction and nonfiction works, story collections, picture books and magazines recommended for readers in preschool through sixth grade.  Books cover a wide variety of topics, including social sciences, science, math and reading.

*use full-text filter for this database

Explora for Educators (Provided by Badgerlink) lesson plans, student tools, curriculum standards, and other professional development resources for educators.

Explora for Elementary Schools (Provided by Badgerlink) Content for elementary school students on arts and music, geography, language arts, math, science and health, and social studies.

Explora for Middle & High Schools (Provided by Badgerlink) Content for Middle and High School Students on a wide range of subjects including Arts and Literature, Current Issues, Geography, Science and Math, and History.

MAS Complete (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) High school magazines, full-text reference books, biographies, primary source documents, photos, maps & flags. 1975-present.

*use full-text filter for this database

Middle and Junior High Core Collection (H.W. Wilson) (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) This Collection is a selective list of fiction and non-fiction books recommended for grades 5 through 9, along with review sources and other professional aids.

*use full-text filter for this database

Middle Search Plus (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) Provides full text for  popular middle school magazines, primary sources, images, maps, flags, biographies, and historical essays. All full text articles included in the database are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles).

Primary Search (EBSCOhost-provided by Badgerlink) Full-text popular magazines for elementary school research. Full text articles date as far back as 1990 and are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles).


Use these search techniques to locate Primary Research inside databases and PRIMO.

  1. Add the following row of keywords to your search: (methods AND results) OR methodology OR “case study” OR “this study” OR “a study”.

You will want to copy and paste this entire row of keywords into its own search box (see first example below).

IMPORTANT! From your list of results, you will still need to examine each article to see if it is primary research.

 Proquest research search

  1. Filter by Document Type: on the Advanced Search page choose Case Study under Document Type or Publication Type. In ProQuest Education Journals, it looks like this:

ProQuest advanced search document type: case study

All of these results are generally primary research articles, but not all primary research is a case study, so you will likely be missing some primary research articles on your topic by searching this way.

  1. In ERIC database, you can choose “Reports – All” and/or “Reports – Research” under Publication Type

reports publication type in ERIC database

WI DPI IEP Resources
Videos and tips for making IEPs

Whether you find a citation in a bibliography of sources or are recommended a resource by a professor, graduate students often need to locate items by citation or request materials not owned by CUW Library.
Here are some tips:
  1. Don’t be afraid to try “link to full text” or “Check for Full Text” options in databases.  Items indexed in one database may be full-text in another.
  2. Try searching the full title in PRIMO. The item should appear on the first page of results if we have it.
  3. Try searching Google Scholar for the title. Look for a Full-Text @ CUW link.
  4. Use Inter-library Loan. Online students can request articles and individual chapters of books from other libraries delivered via email. Use this form to request items.
  5. Ask a Librarian for help. We have extra options we can try or recommend.
NOTE: If you are located near the Metro Milwaukee area, you are welcome to pick up SWITCH materials and use, checkout, and return physical items at the other SWITCH Libraries. SWITCH library locations span the west, south, and north-east parts of the Milwaukee area. 
Another option is public university libraries near your home.   

Looking for a dissertation or masters thesis? References from recently published dissertations can provide the latest research and research methods. Students are more and more sharing their dissertations online or are available through university online repositories.

However, remember that dissertation quality can vary significantly.  

CUW Institutional Repository

Open Access Search Tools

  • PQDT Open
    ProQuest Open Access Search for Theses and Dissertations
  • OATD
    Open Access Search for Theses and Dissertations
  • ETHOs
    UK Theses and Dissertations Search
    Theses and Dissertations Search from Center for Research Libraries
  • Semantic Scholar
    Academic Search engine which includes some dissertations

Search Primo for books on your research topic. For more information: Finding Books

LC Call Numbers

LC 4001-4801    Education of Children & youth with disabilities


Search for eBooks inside one of our eBook databases:

Ebook Central
EBSCO eBooks

Trying to determine if an article is published in a  peer- reviewed journal?

  1. Click on the journal title in the database record to open the journal’s page (you may have to click a more or show all link to see peer-reviewed status):

Journal page in database

2. Check the journal’s website for a description of the
editing processeditorial guidelines from the journal's website.

Find Journal Articles By Journal Title in Primo

  1. Open   Primo Journal Title Search
  2. Search for the journal’s full title.
  3. Click on the journal’s title in the search results.
  4. Use the search box inside the journal to search for articles or browse articles by year, volume, or issue in a database.
  5. Don’t see the year? Request the article via inter-library loan.

Your instructor may ask you to upload a permanent link, or permalink to your references list.

For instructions on how to find permalinks visit:

Permalink Basics

Education subject databases providers:

Ebook Central

Writing Resources

The library does not help with grammar, mechanics, or citations, however we can provide advice on choosing the correct source type for your citations and give advice on how to best use your sources or identify gaps in your argument or research.  

Our Guide for academic writing: Writing With Sources

We recommend all graduate students use a citation manager like Zotero:

Zotero image with text

Guides for setting up and using Zotero

Zotero Getting Started Guide
Zotero Citations and Bibliographies

APA Citation Style Resources

APA Citation Style Guide (6th ed)
U of Washington APA Guide

National Resources

American Foundation for the Blind

Information for people of all ages about vision loss and associated technology, including braille.

Council for Exceptional Children

This international professional association provides standards for special educators, discussion forums, legal updates, professional development training and conferences.

Learning Disabilities Association of America

“LDA Visualizes a World in Which: all individuals with learning disabilities are empowered to thrive and participate fully in society…”
Professional organization for SPED teachers
Americans with Disabilities Act
Current law text with revisions 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Topic Guide
Topic Pages from the Dept of Education related to IDEA and SPED


Wisconsin Resources

Wisconsin DPI – Special Education Team

“The State Performance Plan (SPP) represents the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) plan for improving outcomes of children with disabilities in Wisconsin.”
WI DPI Special Education Topics
Index of pages from WI Department of Instruction

Disability Rights Wisconsin
“private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide”

Demographics of Disability Statistics
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (WDHS) Statistics on disability from population surveys 

Video Tutorials