This tutorial was designed as part of the UG to PGT programme but it can also be used as a standalone tutorial for any student. We're going to look at the advanced skills you'll need for literature and information searching. Keep a look out for the Test Yourself activities located throughout the tutorial. You'll learn the following key skills:
Let's begin with an introduction to the literature searching process and consider the importance of defining your research question.
Before you login to a database to begin your search it's crucial that you analyse your topic, breaking it down into a number of research questions.
Take, for example, this topic: Are biofuels the answer to falling oil reserves?
You could type this sentence into a database search box, but that is seldom helpful, as the sentence may not contain the most appropriate keywords. Also this single sentence is unlikely to encompass everything that you want to find out. You need to break down the topic into a number of separate questions and then look for the answers. For this example here are some of the questions you could ask:
You may find the answers to all of these questions using a single search engine such as Google Scholar or a single Library database, but you are more likely to succeed if you match each question to relevant resources.