Tips and tricks for literature searches
Time is a precious commodity, and as a researcher student you are keenly aware of its value. You are
expected to be thorough and exhaustive in your search for academic resources. These expectations don’t
only exist so you can avoid duplicating existing research; they also empower and prepare you to
contribute to the foundations of thinking and practice in your chosen area of interest. One key to meeting
these expectations is to develop proficiency in online searching.
In a 2 page word documents well written in APA, Share your tips and suggestions for finding relevant
academic literature. These tips may relate to navigating particular electronic databases, applying general
searching techniques, constructing search term queries, broadening or narrowing your initial search
results, finding monographs and other resources, or other topics.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR LITERATURE SEARCHES 2
Tips and tricks for literature searches
A literature search is a thorough and systematic search for published materials in order
to find a variety of quality materials that meets your academic needs. To succeed in literature
search one needs to have a good knowledge of how to traverse the web in an effort to find
academic materials which are relevant to your topic of focus. The academic materials on the
internet that one may be searching for may be academic journals, books, articles among others
(Ridley, D., 2012).
There exists guidelines, mostly not written, that show the way that most researchers use
to successfully find materials of relevance on the web. This paper is going to give some tips
and tricks of conducting a successful literature search.
First, one needs to understand the topic of focus. You need to do a background study of
encyclopedias and texts in order to get context of the terminologies used in the topic of
discussion. The comprehension of the topic of focus entails one knowing what matters most
(Bell, J., 2014). After successfully identifying the topic of focus, it is only then that you can
move to the next step.
The second step is understanding the scope of your search. This refers to whether one
is researching for what purpose. The purposes include a comprehensive research, focused
research or studying for a particular topic. This will help you put boundaries on the areas of
search on all online database. A limit is created, and helps you now when you have gotten
enough literature that satisfy your course (Bell, J., 2014).
It is prudent to also use the help of other people who are higher than you in the
academic ladder. These people include lecturers, professors, and doctors among other whom
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR LITERATURE SEARCHES 3
you may have access to. They will assist in a great way towards your successful search. The
insight you may get from them will help you know the related disciplines to the topic of focus.
Only after achieving this is when you will be able to prioritize your search for literature.
A very important tip when searching online for literature. Search terms play a very
important role in a literature search (Kroft et al., 2014). If a researcher gets the correct terms,
then half the work is done. Search terms refer to key words or phrases that one uses to locate
reliable information on the web. Search terms can be identified by working with the title of the
topic of discussion.
Following the systematic method above. We then move to the next step of identifying
the resources to search. The most relevant literature on the net are academic texts and journals.
Once one has decided on what resources he/she wants to search then the searching process can
The searching process involves using search techniques. These search techniques helps
the researcher to find a variety of results online. It is up to the researcher to filter the results and
use materials that he or she finds useful. The usefulness of these materials will be gauged by
the relevance credibility and publication date (Ridley, D., 2012).
The researcher may have found interesting literature, but only the one that appear most
relevant will be chosen for use. The credibility of these materials is also a measure of
successful searches. The researcher’s task is to pick material that is of acceptable and reputable
Then comes the issue of date of publication. Is the published material from this time
period still credible for the purposes of you work?
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR LITERATURE SEARCHES 4
In conclusion, there proper way to search for literature online is a systematic process.
Therefore, a researcher needs to be keen in conducting his search in a systematic manner as the
one shown in the paragraphs above.
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Bell, J. (2014). Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers. McGraw-Hill
Kroft, K., & Pope, D. G. (2014). Does online search crowd out traditional search and improve
matching efficiency? Evidence from Craigslist. Journal of Labor Economics, 32(2),
Ridley, D. (2012). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students. Sage.