MECP 610: Home, Community, Work Analysis

This library guide will provide an introduction to library resources and research approaches for MECP 610. "Home, Community, Work Analysis" is the second course in the Multicultural Education Certificate program (MECP)

Reviewing Search Strategies

This page breaks down what we call "search strategies," and it includes common keywords related to multicultural education. For some this may be review. For others, it may be brand new. Do not hesitate to reach out to a librarian if you need help getting the most out of our databases. 

Choose Search Terms

Key Concepts

Identify the key concepts of your topic and enter just those terms (not the full sentences) into the search box. For example, if you are investigating equity issues in education, your key concepts might start with: racial inequity, classism, discrimination, K-12 classroom, higher education.

Consider Synonyms, Broader Terms, Narrower Terms, and Related Terms: 

For example, for a search on multicultural education consider the following: "multicultural education", "critical pedagogy", "teacher education", "critical multiculturalism". Then add other concepts to narrow the terms even more,.

Subject Headings: 

Articles are assigned subject headings. Use these as keywords to broaden or narrow your results. In many of the library's databases, you will find the list of assigned subject headings (sometimes called descriptors) in the record for the article. See the below image as an example of where you can find the subject headings or keywords which describe your topic: 

Some databases offer a thesaurus that lists related subject headings. Look for a field titled Subject Terms, Keywords, or Descriptors for narrowing your search.

Phrase Searching:

To find an exact phrase, use double quotes, such as "critical multiculturalism" or "multicultural education".

How to Combine Search Terms

Boolean Operators 

Boolean Operators are words (AND, OR, NOT) that combine or exclude keywords in a search.  Of course you will want to use Education related keywords. This example illustrates how to include or remove subjects with keywords.

AND narrows your search

  • "Multicultural Education" AND "Teacher Education" finds resources with both terms

OR broadens your search

  • "Multiculturalism" OR "Multicultural education" finds resources with either term or both terms
  • Differentiated instruction and assessment OR differentiated learning OR simply differentiation

 NOT excludes terms

  • "Multicultural Pedagogy" NOT "Teacher Education" excludes all books with the term "Teachers Education"

Note: To find an exact phrase, use double quotes, such as "critical multiculturalism" or "multicultural education".

Expand Search Terms

Please note that the symbols vary by database, so it is in your best interest to look at the Help or Search Tips or Advanced Search section of each database for the correct symbols. 


Add a symbol (these vary by database, examples include *, ?, $ ) to find variant endings of a word, which will broaden your search. Enter the root of a word and place the truncation symbol at the end:

  • multicultur* will retrieve multicultural or multiculturalism


Add a symbol (these vary by database, but examples include *, ?, $) within a word to find variant spellings of a term.

  •  wom*n will find women or woman

Selecting and Using Keywords

Relevant Search Terms: Old and New

From MECP 600:

  • Multicultural Education
  • Multiculturalism or multicultural
  • Critical Multiculturalism
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Critical Theory
  • Equity
  • Differentiation (Sociology)
  • Critical Pedagogy
  • Language & Culture
  • (Subject heading) Education --- United States --- Sociological Aspects

New to this course:

  • Participant observation
  • Ethnography OR ethnographic 
  • Lived experience
  • Fieldwork
  • Fieldnotes
  • Interviews and/or transcription
  • Qualitative coding
  • Grounded theory