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Library Skills

This section covers:

  • Planning your literature search
  • Developing a search strategy
  • Using subject headings to search
  • How to use the specialist databases for your subject

Planning your literature search

Before you start a literature search you should consider some key points around your topic:

  • Think about the scope of your topic and do some planning first. This will help you keep your search focussed.
  • Take time to consider the information you are looking for.
  • Try and break down your topic into its main key concepts.
  • Think of alternative keywords, spellings, synonyms and how you can combine these search terms.

There is some advice on the Search Strategy section of this guide.

This will also help you identify the best source for your search, the way you search the source and how you develop your search into something that is relevent to your research topic.

You may need to do a scoping search and develop your search strategy further.

Once you have you have scoped the literature available to you and have an understanding of the broad subject area in which your topic sits, you are ready to undertake a more focused search, using search terms specific to your research area/question in order to produce a comprehensive literature review.  To do this you need to devise a search strategy.

Also look at the Literature Review Library Guide page for more information on how to develop your research topic.