ERIC is available in several different interfaces. There is no "best" interface, and both have unique features.
Academic Search Complete is a large, interdisciplinary database. If you are looking for a very specific term, you might want to use the drop box to search "all text." Remember, however, that Academic Search Complete can only search the full text of certain journals that it has full text rights to. Since it does have rights to many education journals, this can be a very powerful search. It can also result in a large number of "false drops" if the term you type in is one that is commonly used.
Another potentially useful feature of Academic Search Complete is that sometimes you can see other articles that have cited an article. The search is not comprehensive because it only includes citations located in the Academic Search Complete database, but it is still useful. For more comprehensive searches of cited articles, use Web of Science or Google Scholar.
This database is well-known as a citation analysis tool. Keep in mind that WoS is highly selective, which has both advantages and disadvantages. Although it can be a good way to locate articles in "high impact" journals (journals that meet certain criteria), it does not cover some well-respected education journals. The international focus sometimes is not well-suited for all educational topics. Also, keep in mind that although you can limit your search to the social sciences, this is basically an interdisciplinary search.
Sage Journals is not a database in the traditional sense, although limiting a search to this relatively small group of journal titles by Sage publishing may be a useful strategy for locating a few citations from some highly respected journals. Try using the "Advanced Search by Discipline." Note that you can "Select from a list of disciplines" or "Select from a complete list of journals." Also, if you set up an account (which is free), you can create a list of searchable "favorite" journals. You can also set up alerts to notify you when a particular article is cited.
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