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Purpose and Scope

The ERIC Thesaurus is a list of terms representing research topics in the field of education. Descriptors from the ERIC Thesaurus are assigned to every document in the ERIC digital library to describe its subject content.


Terms in the ERIC Thesaurus represent the vocabulary used in the documents that comprise the ERIC digital library collection. Learn more about how the Thesaurus is updated in this archived webinar.


The ERIC Thesaurus contains a total of 11,761 terms. There are 4,539 Descriptors and 7,089 Synonyms. There are also 133 Dead terms which are no longer used as Descriptors but remain in the Thesaurus to aid in searching older records. The ERIC Thesaurus was last updated in March 2019. The updated Thesaurus includes 21 new Descriptors, 19 new Synonyms, and changes to 184 existing terms. For more information, view the full list of updates and download the updated file.

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