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The Literature Review: Support for Higher Degree Research: Plan

Library & Learning resources support for research degree students

Planning process

The ability to construct strategies for locating information and data. It can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Define a search strategy by generating appropriate keywords and concepts - thinking of various spellings, synonyms, related terminology,etc.  You may also want to consider defining the limits of the search by date, location or type of information.  Also consider how you are going to combine your keywords, using search tips such as phrase searching and truncation, to either narrow or widen your search.
  • Identify appropriate search techniques - you may find it helpful to subscribe to RSS feeds from specific journals in your research field; to scan contents pages of journals and subject indexes, especially if the material is before the mid-1990s; to use controlled vocabularies, especially in the arts and social sciences; to use classification codes where the database makes these available.
  • Select the most appropriate search tools - these may be people, in the form of key researchers in your field, search engines, specific subject databases, conference papers and presentations, etc.  Selecting appropriate search tools, based upon the earlier activity of identifying what types of information you want and do not want to include, will save you time in addition to retrieving relevant results.  It may be that you need to select various search tools to answer your specific research questions.

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