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Databases for advanced literature searching

Scopus and Web of Science are competitor product databases which search across selected journals from many different publishers and provide advanced features for analysing results to see trends in the literature.  They can be useful for identifying review papers, highly cited papers and for searching by author.  They are most useful at final project stage and for Masters and Post Graduate Researchers.  You could use both or choose one which you prefer - the journal coverage is slightly different so see which one is a best fit for your project although many of the same journals are indexed by both tools.



Scopus BasicsScopus Advanced

Web of Science


Web of Science BasicWeb of Science Advanced

Advanced searching support

How to devise a search strategy

Identify your keywords and get familiar with exact phrase searching, truncation, wildcards and combining terms

Final year project: literature review

How to scope the literature, identify key papers, key authors and set the scene for your final project.

Systematic Review methodology for literature searching

A systematic review is a research methodology useful for researchers writing a review article to be published.  This approach could be useful for PGT students and PGRs.

SAGE Research Methods

The Library subscribes to SAGE Research Methods: a portal of text, video & project planner resources explaining different quantitative and qualitative approaches to carrying out research.  Ideal for project stage students, PGT students and PGRs.

Access to journal articles not in the Library's collection

When you are producing your own research project (whether final stage undergraduate, Masters projects or PhD and beyond), you will use many more resources and may need to access resources outside of the Library's full text collections.  This page explains how identify content the Library does not subscribe to and how to request access to support your learning and research.  

open access lockOpen Access browser extensions (find 'free' versions of paywalled .pdfs)

OA tools can be used by anyone!

Open Access refers to legally accessible, free of charge access to published research outputs.  The journal articles we view through Primo or Web of Science or the majority of those that open full text through from Google Scholar are due the Library paying an annual subscription payment to the publisher.  Public money is used to fund research grants and there is now a growing Open Access movement to ensure that the public can also access the outputs of these grants without additional charge.  

Below are some Open Access search engines and browser add on tools that will hunt for legal openly accessible versions of full text of articles e.g. within institution repositories.  Simply look for articles in your usual way and, when you find an article you wish to view, the browser tools will pop up on your screen indicating if free full text has been found elsewhere.  
These are ideal tools to use in conjunction with the Library's full text subscriptions and before placing an Inter Library Loan.  (Sometimes the Open Access of the article will look different - this is due to copyright.  Ask Kate if you have any questions).
Add the following browser extensions to your desktop:

Inter Library Loans

Inter Library Loans (ILLS) are only available for students working on final year projects, Masters dissertations, researchers and academic staff.

ILLs are requests for journal articles not in the Library's collection. The Library will purchase one-off journal articles for students at dissertation stage from the British Library.  Articles will be emailed direct from the British Library to your inbox. They cannot be saved and will expire after a given time due to copyright. You will need a certain version of Adobe on your p.c.

ILLs can be requested via the link on Primo and full guidance is available:

 Library Skills Guide: Inter Library Loans - everything you need to know

open access lock