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Literature Reviews

Strategies

There are many strategies to make sure you have conducted an exhaustive review of the literature. Below are explanations for common search strategies. Click on each tab and try them all!

Database Searching Strategies

Databases find articles based on the search terms you enter by applying boolean logic. In the simplest terms, boolean logic, looks for each of your terms:

 

 

Identifying Keywords from a Sample Research Question:

Developing a model of academic student support services for programs for higher education.

Perform an initial search in a Phillips Library database (ProQuest is used in these examples):

 

In this example there are too many results. You can either be more specific with your search terms or add additional search terms to narrow down your results. In this case, change "support services" to "academic support services" as that is a more specific representation of what the research question is.

 

Identifying Keywords from a Sample Research Question:

Implementing a pilot program to maintain quality patient care and employee satisfaction while minimizing over-staffing on low census days.

 

Perform an initial search in a Phillips Library database (EBSCO is used in these examples):

You can use all or just some of your keywords. In this example shows an initial searching using only the phrase low census staffing.

 

 

Brainstorm Related Keywords:

Scanning your results, you can begin to gather additional keywords and revise your search such as personnel staffing and scheduling methods from the example above. You can replicate this for each of the keywords you are searching. This will ensure you have the largest range of resources available to include in your literature review.

Identifying Subject Terms from a Sample Research Question:

Evaluating the effectiveness of an art therapy program for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Perform an initial search in a Phillips Library database (EBSCO is used in this example):

 

Review the subject terms provided. These are controlled vocabulary terms that are assigned to each article. Once you locate subject terms that relate to your topic you can search by subject as shown in the example below:

For each article you find that is related to your research, scan either the literature review or the references for leads on new sources. You can use the "Find Article" page to locate a article from a known citation.

Identify other research from the literature review or references of articles you have found (and that are relevant to your topic):

Through your research you will begin to recognize the names of journals where you find relevant and interesting articles. You can always electronically "browse" the back issues of those journals through the Phillips Library database subscriptions.

Identify Relevant Journals (Sample Research Question):

Exploring the relationship between early interventions and reading comprehension skills in children with autism spectrum disorders.

 

After some initial searching, perhaps you notice several articles from Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Scan Relevant Journals for Additional Research:

From the Phillips Library homepage click "Find Articles"

Click the link "Search for SPECIFIC ARTICLE by PERIODICAL (JOURNAL) title" and enter the name of the journal you are interested in. In this example we enter Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

You will be directed to a list of databases where the journal is available, pay close attention to the dates of coverage. Click a database to see the dates available. You can browse by issue to see everything published in that specific journal.

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