Education Research at a Distance

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A Guide to Library Research for Distance Learners in Education


This site has been created to assist you in exploring library resources related to your distance learning experience. Our library is one of the largest in the United States and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. We will try to make things a little easier for you, but don't hesitate to ask questions.


Accessing Library Online Resources Off-Campus


Finding Articles

Journal articles are one of the primary means of communicating research ideas. They are an important component of academic research and give you some insight into ongoing debates and scholarly conversations about your topic.

Finding articles is a two-step process:


Recommended Article Databases & Tutorials

Many other education related databases can be found at Resources in Education

How do I manage all this information?

Citation management software is a tool that collects, stores and organizes citations from books, articles, web sites, and other sources. It can automatically format those citations into a bibliography in a multitude of different citation styles. The guide “Citation Management Software Overview” helps users choose a citation management tool and provides links to other guides on specific options like Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.

Try out one of these options and discover how much easier it is to manage your research projects and papers!

How do I get copies of journal articles, books, and other items?

Library catalogs are used for two purposes:

First, if you know exactly what you are looking for - an exact title or author - you can use the catalog to locate your material. This works for book titles and journal titles.

Second, you can use library catalogs to discover material that might be helpful to you by doing subject and keyword searching.

Many of the records for journal titles in our catalog can link you to the electronic versions of these publications. If you do not see a link to an electronic version of a journal you need in the Online Catalog, go to Online Journals & Databases and search there for the journal title.

Online Library Catalog

Look here to find books, DVDs, magazines or journals, and many other resources. In addition to the 13 million volumes we have on this campus, you can connect to 70 other libraries in Illinois and request that books be sent to you at one of these Illinois libraries. If you are located outside of Illinois, you will want to check in your local libraries. You can find books in the nearest library through WorldCat but not all libraries will allow you to visit or use their collections, so call first. Keep in mind that you can also request UIUC owned material through the library as a distance education student. For information about requesting UIUC materials, visit the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning Student Resources from the following library guide.

When you find something you want in the catalog, write down the following:

You can then use this information when requesting that the item be sent to you or when you visit that library.


International Web service to verify citations for books that you cannot find elsewhere. Please note that even if you find that a nearby library has a book you need, you will still need to check to see if you are allowed to visit that library and borrow books. You should be able to request books from other libraries through your local public library's interlibrary loan service.

Interlibrary Loan

The place to request journal articles that you cannot find at UIUC or electronically. Ordering journal articles via interlibrary loan is free and generally fairly quick. UIUC DocExpress is a service to have materials owned by UIUC copied on your behalf.  There is no charge for faculty, graduate students, and staff.  However, undergraduate students pay $5.00 per citation.  Login to the UIUC DocExpress page to learn more or to place your request.


Support for Distance Students

The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning provides support for distance students M-F 8:30-5:00. Contact them for assistance with issues related to i-cards, campus e-mail, course tools, etc. 

More Suggested E-Resources


Questions? Comments?

Feel free to Ask-A-Librarian for chat, e-mail or phone assistance or visit the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library if you are on campus.

One-on-One Research Consultation

If you want to set up an individual consultation about your research strategy or project, please fill out the Research Consultation Request form and indicate if you plan to visit in person or phone in.

For individual help with research, don't hesitate to contact:

Nancy O'Brien (Education; S-Collection; Curriculum Materials; Tests)
Office: Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library, 100 and 101 Main Library
Phone: 217/333-2408