How to Search the Literature

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A basic literature review involves evaluating the existing knowledge on a particular topic. In an advanced literature review, the researcher first finds out about the current state of knowledge in that subject area. Based on the results, the researcher puts forward the gap to further study about it. Both these terms may be different but the manner in which the literature search is carried out is the same. It is essential that before writing a literature review, you collect all the information and study it well. Here are five steps listed for the same:

1) Select study area to review: Herein, you need to decide what information you will review and not review. The key strategy to do this is to link the information you avail to the main ideas in your topic statement. This way you will know how much relevant is the data collected by you. So, make sure to choose a well-defined topic in the beginning only.

2) Conduct a literature search: To search for resources effectively, you must learn how to collect and select your data. It is important that you organize your data well. This can be done reading through various data resources properly. You must learn how to include only that data which answers your research problems.

3) Scan through the literature: When scanning the literature, you must be aware of the work you want to include. The aim here is to identify useful works. It could be from books, articles, theses, reports, dissertations, online resources, etc. Match your data to the needs of your subject study. Use key terms to frame your search questions.

4) Use online resources: The internet has become a large storehouse of all kinds of information. Although much of the data can be accessed online, data from internet is not always reliable. It doesn’t go through any quality check which is why it is important on your part to check for its accuracy. Moreover, it is best to check for resources through your university’s libraries where information provided is up to the quality standards.

5) Skim through your data: Now when you have scanned through the literature to identify relevant information, it is now time to decide the kind of materials you would use ahead. By skimming through your data, you will get to know about the best potential information in your literature. Lastly, pay heed that your literature review is well written and well edited to avoid losing on any marks.