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Literature Review & Research Skills Guide: Managing your literature review

Managing your literature review

A search methodology could ideally include a search diary or document detailing your search so that someone else can reproduce your steps and get the same results. 

Keep a record of your search strategies, the sources searched and search results from each.


  • 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).  Watch the 'Getting Better Search Results' video at the top of the page 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.

A search planner may help you to organise your 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.

Further reading

Phelps, R., Fisher, K., & Ellis, A. (2007). Effective literature searching. In Organizing and managing your research (pp. 128-149). : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781849209540.n7


Finding & Organizing Sources of Information

Please watch the following video:

Play video - How do you find and organise sources of information?

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