Literature searching is considered an organised or structured way to search for relevant literature on a particular subject in response to resolving a research question.
Here are some Tutorials to help with literature searching:
Here is a useful outline to follow when doing your literature search:
1. Select your topic
· It is advisable to state your topic as a question in order to identify the key concepts/issues you are trying to address.
2. Obtain a general overview
· You may want to use online dictionaries, encyclopaedias and printed and/or electronic books for this. This will give you the necessary background to your research area. make a list of the key concepts, theories, authors and keywords.
3. Narrow your topic
· As you start researching the topic, you will find from the general readings/overview that the topic may be too wide. Narrow down the topic until you have identified your research question and fine-tune it.
4. Decide on the type and amount of information you require
· As you read about your topic, you will get a sense of the type of information you require for your research project eg. case studies, primary source materials, statistical data, etc.
5. Examine your results: Search, refine and search again
· Search the various databases (don't forget to find the appropriate search terms in the thesauri).
· Develop your search strategy for each of the databases until you find the relevant quality resources - peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, reports, case studies etc that are appropriate for academic study.
6. Evaluate your results
· Evaluate the results, and search again if necessary.
· Check for accuracy, authority, currency, relevancy, audience, provenance, bias etc.
Repeat all of the steps above, as necessary.
· Keep going until you do not find any new literature.
· Do make sure you set up alerts so that you can keep current on your research topic.
Can't find an article we should have in the MSL?
The MSL will undertake to supply full text articles where possible after you have exhausted searching the library's resources.
Use our Ask A Librarian feature to send queries. Be sure to use your UWI email address only.