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Starting your literature review

Information providing guidance on starting a literature review, including resources, techniques and approaches to searching the literature and writing the review.

Finding literature on research methodologies

Sometimes in your literature review, you might need to discuss and evaluate relevant research methodologies in order to justify your own choice of research methodology.

When searching for literature on research methodologies it is important to search across a range of sources. No single information source will supply all that you need. Selecting appropriate sources will depend upon your research topic.

Developing a robust search strategy will help reduce irrelevant results. It is good practice to plan a strategy before you start to search.

Search tips

(1) Free text keywords

Free text searching is the use of natural language words to conduct your search. Use selective free text keywords such as: phenomenological, "lived experience", "grounded theory", "life experiences", "focus groups", interview, quantitative, survey, validity, variance, correlation and statistical.

To locate books on your desired methodology, try LibrarySearch. Remember to use refine options such as books, ebooks, subject, and publication date.
 

(2) Subject headings in Databases

Databases categorise their records using subject terms, or a controlled vocabulary (thesaurus). These subject headings may be useful to use, in addition to utilising free text keywords in a database search.

Subject headings will differ across databases, for example, the PubMed database uses 'Qualitative Research' whilst the CINHAL database uses 'Qualitative Studies.'
 

(3) Limiting search results

Databases enable sets of results to be limited or filtered by specific fields, look for options such as Publication Type, Article Type, etc. and apply them to your search.
 

(4) Browse the Library shelves

To find books on research methods browse the Library shelves at call number 001.42

SAGE Research Methods Online

SAGE Research Methods Overview (2:07 min) by SAGE Publishing  (YouTube