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Literature review strategies 
for graduate students 
ELIZABETH YATES, FACULTY OF APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCES LIBRARIAN 
BROCK ...
Success! 
www.brocku.ca/library > Collections > Digital Repository >Brock Theses > Masters Theses > Applied Health Science...
Today’s outcomes 
You will recall strategies for: 
•creating a research question 
•building an efficient search strategy f...
Is your lit searching on target?
Getting to the 
good stuff 
What works 
for you?
Think before 
you search 
Image: Rodin Museum, Philadelphia 
http://brohammas.wordpress.com/philly/
Research path 
Research 
question 
Generate 
keywords & 
synonyms 
Get 
background 
info 
Add more 
keywords, 
context to ...
Stay on the path 
•Track your research path: 
what have you searched & 
where? 
•Consider search alerts 
and RSS feeds 
•S...
Step 1: crafting a research question 
•Shapes what you will study and how 
•Should be of personal interest 
•Should be cle...
Research question: ask yourself 
Why is this interesting to me – and others? 
What are the gaps in the literature? 
What p...
Research question: who’s got one? 
Possible RQ: 
How does body image affect the leisure activities of men 
with spinal cor...
Think like a search engine 
Keywords & synonyms
Keywords 
•Key to finding good 
information on your 
topic 
•Usually nouns 
•Think about broader, 
narrower and related 
t...
1. What are you interested in? 2. What is your research 
Thinking tool: generating concepts and keywords 
question? 
Synon...
Sample keywords 
Keywords Related terms 
Body image Related term: self image 
Narrower terms: self esteem, 
confidence 
Sp...
Getting started: background info 
Image: 'untitled' 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11797 
720@N00/8559607109 
Found on flic...
Succeed with SuperSearch: books 
1. Refine your results: select “books & media @ Brock” 
Slide the Publication Date to adj...
Moving from background 
to foreground
Finding foreground info 
Search engines Databases/Indexes 
e.g. Google, Google Scholar: 
-broad scope 
-can’t tell where y...
Which databases & journals 
are relevant? 
Tips: 
•Search some keywords in SuperSearch, find relevant 
articles and see wh...
Search tips & tricks 
1. Use “quotes” to search for an exact phrase 
2. Use * to search for variations of a word ending e....
Search operators in action 
How does body image affect the leisure activities of men with 
spinal cord injury? 
Body image...
Search operators in action 
(body image OR self image) AND (spinal cord injury OR disease) 
AND: I want articles with ALL ...
Database searching 
KEYWORD SEARCHING E.G. WEB OF SCIENCE 
•Use as many related words as possible 
to ensure adequate cove...
Finding emerging research 
brocku.ca/library/research-lib/theses-and-dissertations 
•Brock digital repository 
•Proquest D...
Tracing scholarly conversations 
Citation searching: 
a) Backwards – via cited references 
b) Forwards – via find citing r...
Keeping current 
•Search alerts > in databases e.g. OVID MEDLINE, Web of 
Science, EBSCO products (SportDISCUS, CINAHL), s...
Think, pair & 
share 
What are some good 
strategies for staying 
organized?
Citation management tools 
•Use to store and organize your search results 
•Create in-text citations and reference lists a...
Citation management tools 
Free @ 
Brock
Getting Help @ the Library 
• Visit the Help Desk 
• Chat with us from 
this widget 
> brocku.ca/library 
• Text us @ 
289...
brocku.ca/library 
Click on the Help Tab to 
search topics by 
Category 
Contact me: 
eyates@brocku.ca 
905-688-5550 
x446...
Summing up
Resources 
Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2003). The 
craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago p...
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Literature review strategies for graduate students

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Literature review strategies for graduate students

  1. 1. Literature review strategies for graduate students ELIZABETH YATES, FACULTY OF APPLIED HEALTH SCIENCES LIBRARIAN BROCK UNIVERSITY OCTOBER 2014 Free to use or share with attribution
  2. 2. Success! www.brocku.ca/library > Collections > Digital Repository >Brock Theses > Masters Theses > Applied Health Sciences
  3. 3. Today’s outcomes You will recall strategies for: •creating a research question •building an efficient search strategy for a literature review: including keywords & synonyms, identifying relevant databases/journals, logging your searching and keeping current •managing your citations •getting help 
  4. 4. Is your lit searching on target?
  5. 5. Getting to the good stuff What works for you?
  6. 6. Think before you search Image: Rodin Museum, Philadelphia http://brohammas.wordpress.com/philly/
  7. 7. Research path Research question Generate keywords & synonyms Get background info Add more keywords, context to your search Foreground information Revise as needed
  8. 8. Stay on the path •Track your research path: what have you searched & where? •Consider search alerts and RSS feeds •Store your citations and papers so they are findable •Try a citation manager
  9. 9. Step 1: crafting a research question •Shapes what you will study and how •Should be of personal interest •Should be clear, concise, focused •May need tweaking once you start exploring the literature Hint: ask yourself, “What would be the title of the perfect article to answer my question?”
  10. 10. Research question: ask yourself Why is this interesting to me – and others? What are the gaps in the literature? What population are you studying? In what context? What interventions and outcomes are you interested in? What answer do you expect to find? (your hypothesis)
  11. 11. Research question: who’s got one? Possible RQ: How does body image affect the leisure activities of men with spinal cord injury? -population -intervention -outcome Next: translate research question into a search strategy
  12. 12. Think like a search engine Keywords & synonyms
  13. 13. Keywords •Key to finding good information on your topic •Usually nouns •Think about broader, narrower and related terms
  14. 14. 1. What are you interested in? 2. What is your research Thinking tool: generating concepts and keywords question? Synonyms? Expert vocabulary? Population? Write down anything related to your Context? Outcomes? Locations? Interventions? 5. Generate some related words (broader, narrower) 4. Choose some keywords 3. Concept cloud topic Derived from: Thinking Tool: Choosing a Topic and Search Terms by Burks and Wolnick, University of Virginia Library
  15. 15. Sample keywords Keywords Related terms Body image Related term: self image Narrower terms: self esteem, confidence Spinal cord injury Broader term: musculoskeletal disorder, spinal cord diseases Narrower terms: central cord syndrome
  16. 16. Getting started: background info Image: 'untitled' http://www.flickr.com/photos/11797 720@N00/8559607109 Found on flickrcc.net 1. Find research guide relevant to your discipline > Research Guides by Program www.brocku.ca/library/research-lib/research-guides 2. Use tabs for Find Books, Background info OR 3. Go right to SuperSearch
  17. 17. Succeed with SuperSearch: books 1. Refine your results: select “books & media @ Brock” Slide the Publication Date to adjust time period 2. Select “Subject” to find results focused on a specific aspect of your topic 3. Add another keyword to find results focused on a specific aspect of your topic 4. To get a book: note location in library (print books) OR click “read this online” (e-books)
  18. 18. Moving from background to foreground
  19. 19. Finding foreground info Search engines Databases/Indexes e.g. Google, Google Scholar: -broad scope -can’t tell where you are searching -few options for focused searching e.g. OVID MEDLINE, SportDISCUS -defined/subject-specific scope -you can discover what journals are being searched -many options for focused searching e.g. by subject, age group, methodology, article type Choose the best resource for your search
  20. 20. Which databases & journals are relevant? Tips: •Search some keywords in SuperSearch, find relevant articles and see which databases & journals they’re from •Ask your colleagues and supervisors •Check a Library Research Guide in your topic area e.g. Kinesiology •Ask your librarian 
  21. 21. Search tips & tricks 1. Use “quotes” to search for an exact phrase 2. Use * to search for variations of a word ending e.g. child*(child, children) 3. Use search operators: AND, OR • Distinct topics: use AND • Similar topics (synonyms): use OR
  22. 22. Search operators in action How does body image affect the leisure activities of men with spinal cord injury? Body image OR Self image Spinal cord injury OR Spinal cord disease
  23. 23. Search operators in action (body image OR self image) AND (spinal cord injury OR disease) AND: I want articles with ALL my concepts OR: I want articles with ANY of my concepts
  24. 24. Database searching KEYWORD SEARCHING E.G. WEB OF SCIENCE •Use as many related words as possible to ensure adequate coverage •Combine synonyms with OR and distinct concepts with AND •Look for pull down menus that allow you to focus your search e.g. abstracts SUBJECT HEADING SEARCHING E.G. OVID MEDLINE •Find the relevant subject headings for your topic: subject headings group all the articles on a specific topic together •Usually, databases with subject headings also have the most sophisticated search filters e.g. research methodologies, articles types, etc.
  25. 25. Finding emerging research brocku.ca/library/research-lib/theses-and-dissertations •Brock digital repository •Proquest Dissertations •Ask around!
  26. 26. Tracing scholarly conversations Citation searching: a) Backwards – via cited references b) Forwards – via find citing references (MEDLINE, Web of Science)
  27. 27. Keeping current •Search alerts > in databases e.g. OVID MEDLINE, Web of Science, EBSCO products (SportDISCUS, CINAHL), search engines e.g. Google Scholar •TOC alerts > via databases, journals •RSS feeds > from journals, websites – set up via email e.g. Outlook, feedreaders e.g. NetVibes; your browser
  28. 28. Think, pair & share What are some good strategies for staying organized?
  29. 29. Citation management tools •Use to store and organize your search results •Create in-text citations and reference lists automagically •Save time!
  30. 30. Citation management tools Free @ Brock
  31. 31. Getting Help @ the Library • Visit the Help Desk • Chat with us from this widget > brocku.ca/library • Text us @ 289.271.8777 Search our FAQ
  32. 32. brocku.ca/library Click on the Help Tab to search topics by Category Contact me: eyates@brocku.ca 905-688-5550 x4469
  33. 33. Summing up
  34. 34. Resources Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2003). The craft of research. Chicago: University of Chicago press. Ridley, D. (2012). The literature review : a step-by-step guide for students. Los Angeles: SAGE. Russey, W. E., Ebel, H., & Bliefert, C. (2006). How to write a successful science thesis: the concise guide for students. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. Fink, A. (2014). Conducting research literature reviews : from the internet to paper. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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