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CEDEV 580: Research Application and Practice

Literature Search or Literature Review?

What is a literature search?

The process of locating relevant information related to a research question. Not to be confused with the Literature Review (see below).

Literature Search Steps

  1. Ask the question(s)!  Define the problem, issue or hypothesis.
  2. Determine parameters of your information need.  Do you have date constraints?  Geographical limits?
  3. Develop keywords/concepts from your question.  Think of synonyms and related concepts.
  4. Select appropriate database(s).  See a library subject guide to help you choose where to search.
  5. Combine keywords appropriately.  Adding more words usually narrows your search result.
  6. Evaluate the quality and relevancy of the information retrieved.  Did you get what you need?  Too much? Too little?
  7. Modify your search if necessary!
     

What is a literature review?

A written summary of information on a topic/issue. It may be an introduction in a research report/thesis, or a stand-alone annotated bibliography.  You conduct a literature search (see above) so that you can write a literature review. Watch this video for more information: