ERIC Identifier: ED277654
Publication Date: 1986-00-00
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education
The Importance of the Educational Resources Information Center
for Health and Physical Education Teacher Candidates. ERIC Digest #9.
The ERIC system can be a vital resource for health and physical
education, offering not only research findings, but also practical ideas and
information that Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (HPRD)
teacher candidates can use throughout their professional careers. This digest
highlights ERIC's features and explains how to use the system most effectively.
It offers suggestions on how HPRD teacher education faculty can use ERIC.
WHAT IS ERIC?
ERIC is the world's largest educational data base--used by researchers,
education professionals, and policy makers around the world. Using ERIC can
expand HPRD teacher candidates' knowledge of the profession, broaden their
career horizons, and give them a lifelong resource for professional competence
WHY DO HPRD TEACHER CANDIDATES NEED TO USE ERIC?
ERIC serves as the most comprehensive source of information on health,
physical education, recreation, and dance for teachers and teacher candidates.
ERIC contains more than 500,000 documents and journal articles from all areas of
education. These include research reports on exercise physiology, elementary
physical education curriculum guides, American Alliance for Health, Physical
Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) conference papers, and pamphlets on
Accessibility. The system is accessible either by computer or by using the
print indexes published monthly: RESOURCES IN EDUCATION (RIE) and CURRENT INDEX
TO JOURNALS IN EDUCATION (CIJE). These indexes, which can be found in many
university and research libraries, provide full bibliographic citations and
abstracts for each entry, along with subject and author indexes. The full text
of ERIC documents is available on microfiche in library collections. Computer
searches of the ERIC data base are also available through many libraries.
Lifelong Resource. Learning how to use the ERIC system gives HPRD teacher
candidates access to materials for term papers, bibliographies, and other
research assignments. More importantly, it offers a lifelong entry to the
education profession's comprehensive resources. In addition to research
findings, ERIC documents and journal articles contain many practical "ideas that
work"--suggestions on sports management, curriculum enhancements, handling
discipline problems, and information on current educational and professional
issues such as teenage pregnancy, merit pay, basic instruction, and teacher
Multiple Viewpoints. ERIC allows comprehensive information-gathering in all
disciplines connected with education because it contains many viewpoints which
may not be contained in a single publication or one author's perspective. For
example, a search of ERIC on the subject "classroom discipline" will yield views
of teachers, coaches, principals, education faculty, and researchers.
Career Development. The literature in the data base also helps HPRD teacher
candidates obtain comprehensive information on career development. Information
on state certification requirements, international education opportunities,
staff development programs, and innovative products and techniques is all to be
found in ERIC.
WHY SHOULD HPRD EDUCATION FACULTY TEACH ERIC IN THE CLASSROOM?
Faculty have special areas of expertise to draw from when teaching the ERIC
system. A faculty member can help the student find different theories,
practices, specific researchers, and organizations knowledgeable about the
subject. Guidance from a faculty member helps students refine the search
questions and determine how to locate specific information.
Classroom assignments that follow a library orientation will assure a more
thorough understanding of how to conduct an ERIC search. Learning how to use the
system without practice is like learning to drive a car without starting the
engine. Students need someone knowledgeable in the subject area to pose specific
teaching-career situations for which the ERIC system would be helpful. In this
way, using ERIC can become an integral part of teachers' professional lives.
WHAT SHOULD HPRD TEACHER CANDIDATES KNOW TO USE ERIC EFFECTIVELY?
To use the ERIC system effectively, HPRD teacher education candidates should
know three things: (1) how to form the "search question," (2) how to conduct a
search of the print indexes or ask for a computer search, and (3) how to locate
the full text of the documents and journal articles.
Defining the Question. Both print index and computer searches begin with
defining the "search" question. The more precisely the question is posed, the
more "on-target" the resources from the system will be. ERIC indexes each
document and article using a controlled vocabulary found in the THESAURUS OF
ERIC DESCRIPTORS. For example, a question like, "What do good elementary
physical education teachers do?" is far too broad. But a question such as, "What
are some effective teaching strategies for fifth-grade physical education
programs?" yields a list of documents that are indexed by the decriptors
"Teaching Methods," "Grade 5," and "Physical Education." Exercises are available
to give students practice using the THESAURUS (Houston 1981).
Conducting the Search. Using the print indexes is advantageous because it can
easily be done independently and costs nothing, unlike a computer search, which
usually involves a fee. Using the print indexes is also the easiest way to
locate resources if only a few documents are needed on a specific topic (ERIC
Clearinghouse on Social Studies 1981). Other advantages of the manual search are
the "serendipitous find" and the ability to change direction without expensive
To conduct a print index search, the students must be thoroughly familiar
with the RIE and CIJE journals, which contain the indexes, abstracts, and
ordering information needed to locate the full text of the document or journal
article. Specifically, they need to know how to use the author and subject
indexes, how to interpret the information contained in the abstract, and where
to go once they identify the ED (ERIC Document) and the EJ (ERIC Journal)
numbers for the materials they want to read.
A computer search is useful for doing an in-depth literature review or to
locate minor descriptors or identifiers not listed in the THESAURUS (Laubacher
1983). Computer searches are available in most research libraries and in state
department of education offices. The data base also can be searched using a home
computer (Klausmeier 1984). Large school districts often have ERIC computer
search capability, and students should know that this resource may be available
to them as teachers.
Locating the Text. After locating the document (ED) numbers and the journal
(EJ) numbers in RIE and CIJE, the students must learn to locate the documents in
the microfiche collection and the journals in the serials collection. If a
journal is unavailable in a library, a reprint of the article can be ordered
from University Microfilms International, Article Reprint Service, 300 N. Zeeb
Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Paper copies of most microfiche documents can be
ordered from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service, 3900 Wheeler Ave.,
Alexandria, VA 22304.
SOME SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES FOR CLASSROOM FOLLOW-UP
1. Use the THESAURUS to locate index terms for an abstract that has been
previously indexed (that is, an abstract from RIE). This will increase awareness
about using a controlled vocabulary.
2. Compile a bibliography of recent documents and journal articles in the
ERIC system on a specific topic such as testing motor skills.
3. Locate recent HPRD curriculum guides to update resources in the school
4. Debate a controversial issue such as teacher testing using materials in
the ERIC system. This will increase awareness about the diversity of the system.
5. Prepare lesson plans using ideas retrieved from the ERIC system.
6. Prepare a policy paper on a controversial subject, such as merit pay for
7. Give an oral presentation about the impact of educational reform efforts
such as teacher career ladders.
8. Locate statistics about teacher shortages in a particular state.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
ERIC Clearinghouse on Social Studies/Social Science Education. FINDING WHAT
YOU NEED IN ERIC. 1981. ED 253 459.
Houston, W.R. USING INFORMATION FROM ERIC TO SOLVE EDUCATION PROBLEMS: A
RESOURCE MODULE FOR TEACHER EDUCATION. 1981. ED 209 230.
Klausmeier, J.A. ACCESSING ERIC WITH YOUR MICROCOMPUTER. 1984. ED 254 209.
Laubacher, M.R. HOW TO PREPARE FOR A COMPUTER SEARCH OF ERIC: A NON-TECHNICAL
APPROACH. REVISED AND UPDATED. 1983. ED 237 100.
Simmons, R.M. A LIBRARY USERS GUIDE TO ERIC. 1980. ED 192 781.
Tauber, R.T. "ERIC: Its Introduction and Usefulness." JOURNAL OF EDUCATION
FOR TEACHING 11(3) (1985):213-227.