Plan your literature search

Careful planning is essential for an effective literature search.
This set of online resources mirrors our face to face ‘Planning your literature search’ workshop for PhD students.

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  1. How confident are you in finding and managing information?
    Use this self-assessment questionnaire Adobe Acrobat (PDF) [PDF, 186 KB] to reflect on your literature searching skills and identify areas you might need to develop.
  2. What does the information landscape look like? video [Interactive tutorial, 3 minutes]
    Review the information and publishing landscape and think about how it relates to your research area. Identify important types of information you will need for your research. The types of information you need will affect where and how you search.
  3. Why is literature searching important? video [Video, 3 minutes]
    The type of research and literature review you are doing will affect the type of literature search strategies you will need to use.
  4. What is your search strategy? video [Video, 2 minutes]
    What types of search strategy do you already use? What other types of search strategy will you also need to use?
  5. Can you improve your search results? video [Interactive tutorial, 3 minutes]This section focuses on keyword searching and search techniques such as truncation, wildcards, phrase searching and limits to help you understand the elements of an effective search strategy
  6. Now have a go at planning a keyword search strategy for your research topic using sections 1-5 of the planning template Adobe Acrobat (PDF) [PDF]
  7. Where can you find sources for your research? video [Video, 3 minutes]
    Identify how to obtain materials relevant to your research then
    complete section 6 of the planning template Adobe Acrobat (PDF) [PDF]

Now you have a literature search plan you might like to work through our Conduct your literature search materials.

You will need to critically evaluate the literature you find. Workshops on the Literature Review, Effective Reading and Note-Taking and Critical Thinking can be booked via PROSE.

We recommend you use a system for managing your references.  There are various pieces of software that can help you do this – find out which one is right for you. The University provides access to EndNote and RefWorks.

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