The Purpose and Politics of Education

Listed in: American Studies, as AMST-352  |  Black Studies, as BLST-351  |  History, as HIST-352

Moodle site  |  Faculty: Leah N. Gordon, Hilary J. Moss 

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Workshop outline

Brainstorming activity

  • Freewriting on your topic;
  • rephrasing your topic as a research question (in pairs);
  • identifying keywords, important terms.

Finding background information and first pass at existing literature

Identifying relevant organizations, interest groups, or initiatives

  • Drawing from the literature;
  • Searching beyond library resources;
  • Crowdsourcing (white boards).



    • ERIC (1966-present)
      Covers research documents, journal articles, technical reports, program descriptions and evaluations, and curricular materials in the field of education.
    • Education Database (ProQuest) (1988 to present)
      Coverage spans the literature on primary, secondary and higher education as well as special education, home schooling and adult education.
    • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
      Provides information on social issues, including viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles.
    • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) (1951 to present)
      Indexes about 3,000 journals and 7,000 books per year.
    • PsycInfo (1887 to present)
      Covers the academic literature in psychology and related disciplines including psychiatry, sociology, education, and other areas.


    • - Education
      Explore education datasets, apps, resources for the classroom, and details about paying for college. These datasets cover education at all levels.
    • National Center for Education Statistics
      The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
    • Social Explorer (1790 to present)
      Access to data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, religious congregations, and other sources, with options to create thematic and interactive maps and reports.
    • Statistical Abstract of the United States (ProQuest)
      Provides statistical tables and charts covering various aspects of social, political and economic conditions of the United States.
    • Statistical Insight (ProQuest)
      Searches U.S. federal government (1974-present), international intergovernmental (1983-present), state government and privately published documents (1981-present) that contain statistics. Many tables are available online as images or Excel files.