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The Fine Art of Fishing:
Becoming Your Own T.A. Center
Sometimes, what we pull out may not be "the right catch" and you will want to do a bit of fishing for yourself. Also, since it takes a bit of time for technical assistance centers (even ours) to respond, it often is quicker to do-it-yourself. This self-help guide outlines easy-to-access resources we find helpful. (If you know of other good ways, please let us know).
Many resources can be accessed quickly through the Internet. If you are not personally connected to the Internet, hopefully you have access through your work site, local libraries, or a friend.
(1) In searching, we start close to home:
For Information and Materials for Practitioners, Consumers, Program Developers, and Those Concerned with Staff Development, see
Center Resource List for
Fact sheets Information booklets Intervention approaches Client-friendly
materials for schools, parents, kids, Publications Program descriptions
Topical overviews Reports, statistics, & other updated information
Quick Find . Click on one of the over 130 topics for a fast way to access Center technical information and resources. Find one that is relevant to your search and go to it. From there, you can link to a variety of Center-developed materials and to online resources from other sources.
Gateway to Links. The Gateway Sites section provides a listing of major agency websites that offer access to other information and support relevant to the topics of mental health in schools and addressing barriers to student learning. We've also identified other Centers that provide free technical assistance.
Center-based Search engines. Through our search engines you can either search our website or search our Center's databases for clearinghouse documents, consultation cadre members, and list of other organizations and websites.
- (2) Next comes general internet searches:
Google -- for example. Offers both scholarly articles and other resources.
(3) Specialized searches:
MedlinePlus is a goldmine of good health information from the world's largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. Health professionals and consumers alike can depend on it for information that is authoritative and up to date. MedlinePlus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 650 diseases and conditions. There are also lists of hospitals and physicians, a medical encyclopedia and a medical dictionary, health information in Spanish, extensive information on prescription and nonprescription drugs, health information from the media, and links to thousands of clinical trials.
U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences
The Institute of Education Sciences replaced the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in 2002. The Institute consists of the National Center for Education Research, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. It also has the archives of information from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
(4) Examples of professional associations offering resources:
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Publishes books, pamphlets, fact sheets, etc. related to mental health in school settings.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Offers varied materials addressing mental health concerns (e.g., Facts for Families, practice parameters, meeting materials, policy statements) -- mostly free and accessible online. Their publications catalogue is available on request.
(5) Libraries: In our searches, we often begin with a quick look at a library's catalogue for the latest books providing overviews and resource aids. We also look at periodical indexes. Many libraries have interlibrary loan and Internet connections. And good Reference Desk Librarians are worth their weight in gold. Many local college or university libraries allow non-campus members use of their services (sometimes for a small fee).
(6) We also find compendiums of best practices useful (e.g., search for best practices in school psychology, school social work, school counseling)
(7) Researching Research
Our first step here is to find a comprehensive, basic overview on the topic (e.g., recent books and journal review articles). We identify these through subject searches in library catalogues (narrowing the search down to the last few years) and through listings of books in print (which are readily accessible through the Internet). If we don't find what we need or if we need the most recent research, we look for relevant journal articles.
Directory of Open Access Scholarly Journals in Education. Provides links to journals that deal with education. Certain material can be accessed through the ERIC database (http://www.eric.ed.gov/)
Lists and links to psychology journals.
PsychInfo is a reference database published by the American Psychological Association. Local university libraries often have access to PsychInfo and the journals (many universities will provide services for non-affiliated patrons). PsychInfo is a reference database published by the American Psychological Association. Local university libraries often have access to PsychInfo and the journals (many universities will provide services for non-affiliated patrons).
(8) Then, there are colleagues:
If you don't have a colleague with whom to consult, try our Consulation Cadre. You can search for a cadre participant on our website. Select the cadre category in the selection box. You can also narrow your search to a specific state using the selection box on the right side of the screen. Then type in a couple of keywords and press submit. If you don't find someone, then you might need to expand your search criteria. If you need any help, just contact the Center.
You can also post a message on our Net Exchange message board. Just send a note to the Center and we'll post your request for assistance for others to see and respond to.
And, of course, as needed, feel free to contact us and any of the many technical assistance centers (many of which are listed on our website in our Gateway to Links)
TA requests to the Center can be directed to Ltaylor@ucla.edu
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