Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ITC571 Research Skills Guide: Keeping a record

Keeping a record of your search activity

Good search practice could involve keeping a search diary or document detailing your search activities (Phelps et. al. 2007, pp. 128-149), so that you can keep track of effective search terms, or to help others to reproduce your steps and get the same results. 

This record could be a document, table or spreadsheet with:

  • The names of the sources you search and which provider you accessed them through - eg Medline (Ovid), Web of Science (Thomson Reuters). You should also include any other literature sources you used.
  • The search strategies that you applied when searching different sources (eg Medline, Web of Science) can be added as an appendix to your document. This provides additional detail on:
    • how you searched (keyword and/or subject headings)
    • which search terms you used (which words and phrases)
    • any search techniques you employed (truncation, adjacency, etc)
    • how you combined your search terms (AND/OR). Check out the Database Help guide for more tips on Boolean Searching.
  • The number of search results from each source and each strategy used.  This can be the evidence you need to prove a gap in the literature, and confirms the importance of your research question.
Tip: you will be doing a number of searches as your initial search evolves. As your thesis, discussions and argument develops you will search for further evidence and support from the literature. Each search should be included in your search record.

A search planner may help you to organise you thoughts prior to conducting your search. If you have any problems with organising your thoughts prior, during and after searching please contact your Library Faculty Team  for individual help.

Managing your literature with EndNote

EndNote is a citation management software package used to store and manage references.

With EndNote you can:

  • export references and full text from most databases into your own EndNote Library
  • add your own research notes to references
  • insert citations into a word document
  • create the bibliography in the referencing style according to your requirement.

Charles Sturt University Library supports EndNote and the program is available free to CSU staff and students.

EndNote Help

Go to our  EndNote library guide to:

  • download EndNote;
  • learn how to use the software, access videos, manuals and FAQs.

Contact your Faculty Librarians for personalised help.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.