Literature Searching

Overview and tips on how to conduct a literature search.

Major Steps in a Literature Search

It's a good idea to plan your search in advance.  This will help you to find resources more quickly and easily, and will save you time in the long run.

There are several steps involved in conducting a literature search. The most common major steps in a literature search are:

  • Create a well-defined research or topic question
  • Brainstorm to gather subject terms, keywords and synonyms
  • Construct the search strategy
  • Select database(s) to search
  • Tailor the search strategy to the selected database(s)
  • Then, conduct the search and repeat as necessary

Literature searches are an iterative process. You may discover new keywords and articles through the references and citations that you find.

Keep track and document all of the subject terms or keywords used and all of the search strategies that you use as you may want or need to re-use a successful search strategy.

Make sure to document or keep track of all of the articles you identify as relevant to your topic/research question. This will save you time and frustration later when you want to find those references or article citations again when you need to cite references for your literature review.

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2024 1:26 PM