Your subject-specific guide to using library resources.
When you’re planning your literature search, you need to take a closer look at your research question and try to identify important themes and concepts. Then, for each concept, you need to try to come up with a list of targeted keywords to search for. We’ve created a planner app to help you do just this, so be sure to check it out…
Library Search is a great starting point for your research and one of the best places to find quality information from lots of different sources and subject areas. You can also use advanced search techniques to find phrases, include and exclude keywords, and limit your results by date, location and language. We’ve created a range of videos and online resources to help you do just this, so be sure to check them out.
When you’re happy with the information you’ve found on Library Search, move on to your specialist subject databases and try your keyword searches again. In case you don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a list of the databases for your subject, and how best to search them. You’ll find this on your Library Subject Guide.
The first person you need to impress with a literature review is your dissertation tutor or supervisor. He or she will want to see a thorough, well-structured review; one that introduces your topic, discusses important background information, and builds a solid case for your research. You’ll also have to show evidence that you’ve critically evaluated the information you’ve found and asked questions of its quality.
Ask yourself – is the information relevant to your own work? Is it up-to-date? Is it authoritative, accurate, and reliable? Has it been peer-reviewed? What contribution does it make to your subject, and how will it inform your own work?
These are skills that you’ll develop over time, but to give you a head start, we’ve created a range of online resources to help…
A literature review is not just something you do at the start of a research project and then forget about. New research is published every day, and your work is likely to take you down paths you hadn’t thought about initially. You’ll need to frequently return to and adapt your search, and then update your literature review as you go.
Of course, once you find information, you’ll also need to cite and reference it correctly. Your school or supervisor will tell you how to do this, but we've also created a range of online resources to help. You’ll also find advice on reference management tools such as EndNote, which you can use to keep track of and automatically format your references.
Telephone: 0191 208 7662
This work is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).