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All You Need to Know about Your Dissertation’s Literature Search Strategy

One of the biggest difficulties that a student faces while writing his research report is conducting

literature search for the information

that should be added in the report.

Now there might be a lot of sites and forums that will tell you exactly what should be added in your research report and what shouldn’t be but they will all be wasting your time unless you have developed a literature research strategy for your study.

What is literature search, you ask?

A literature search strategy is a well thought out plan to search for information that will help you conduct your research.
But, before starting the literature search, ask yourself these two important questions

  • What is your goal?
  1. Do you want to break into this field and you are the first one conducting the research?
  2. Do you want to check if research on this particular field has been conducted previously?
  3. Do you want to update your knowledge on the field that you are working on?

What are the resources available to you?

This answer will depend on the first one. If you are the first one conducting the research in the field, then you will have your work cut out for you. In this case, you can use literature from similar fields and apply them here. But if you are updating your knowledge or analyzing previous studies, then you will have quite a few options for gathering information in your research field. Some such sources that you can look into are as follows:

Books

Books are the best source of information that will give you an initial idea of your research theme and its key variables. Books are also sources that can be found easily everywhere. But if you are a medical student, then you need to make sure that the published material you are using is not older than 5 years so that you can get current knowledge on drugs or medical practices.

Journals

This is generally where all the ground breaking studies are published and they are easily available in libraries and research centers. Journals are also a very good source of information if you want to cite your data and make it more authentic and significant.

Internet

It would not be an exaggeration to call Internet one of the greatest sources of information for research. Almost all published studies and material is available on the Internet and is a great literature search strategy. Nowadays there are even a lot of literature search engines through which doing a literature search becomes a piece of cake.
To successfully conduct research through Internet, browse through any popular search engine with your research theme and then try different browsing strategies like:

  • Use synonyms of your research theme
  • use the keyword index
  • use wide range of terms

In conclusion, before the start of your research report, make sure that you develop a literature search example or strategy that will be a guiding force throughout your investigative process.

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