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Search Methods and Literature Review


Literature review is one of the most common types of academic works. This type requires applying specific search techniques. Although there are various techniques used in academic research, some general methods are applied by the majority of researchers. The main goals of this paper are to discuss the key aspects of a literature review and describe search methods for credible sources.

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Search Methods

There are several ways to look for sources. An effective search might be conducted by using keywords, a topic, the title of a source, and the author’s name (“Finding and evaluating,” n.d.). Keywords help to find most sources. However, using a subject provides more specific results as it searches in a narrower field. Also, the author’s name or the title of a text gives an opportunity to locate the exact work that is needed for research.

In addition, there are some tips for a more effective search. It is very helpful to use the preposition and to combine keywords and phrases when “searching the electronic databases for journal articles” (“Top ten,” n.d., para. 1). Another tip is to use an asterisk and wildcards as it helps to retrieve a larger amount of materials.

Sources are divided into several categories. Two of the most prominent are books and scholarly articles. In order to conduct an effective search for sources, it is necessary to know how to evaluate them. There are some important steps to be taken to locate a credible source. First, it is necessary to identify the authors and their credentials. Also, the information about a publisher might be crucial to assess the credibility of a text. For example, “if the publisher is an academic press, this generally means a scholarly resource” (Finding and evaluating,” n.d., para. 3). Second, the audience the work is aimed at is an important factor as well. It could be made for the general public or a specialized audience. Third, the information presented in a source should be supported by references or clearly demonstrated examples.

Another important aspect is the structure of a text. Information from sources should be incorporated in work in an organized and logical manner. In-text citations should support implications and conclusions. However, to avoid plagiarism, it is necessary to use paraphrasing or citing, including references to sources used for a study.

Literature Review

There are several important aspects of a literature review. The first one is credibility. The quality of evidence found in a literature review might be rated as follows: high, moderate, and low.The rate has a high impact on the level of evidence presented in a study. If evidence has a higher quality, further research will not alter conclusions (Pautasso, 2013). However, if the evidence is of low quality, it is necessary to continue research to provide more proof for a certain statement.Also, a literature review might contain unreliable statements. Unpicking dodgy claims are an explanatory tool used in science that critically appraises various studies. It promotes the development of new theories and concepts with the help of scientific conferences and scholar journals (Goldacre, 2011). This principle contributes to establishing a constructive discussion on relevant subjects.

The next aspect is the goal of a review. It highlights the main difference between literature reviews for clinical research, health education research, and basic science research. A literature review for clinical research requires gathering information about the effectiveness of medicine, technologies, and ways of treatment. This information is used for addressing problems associated with various diseases. A literature review for health education research is necessary for promoting medical literacy among the general public and medical personnel. It aims at implementing practical approaches in medical settings. Basic science research is conducted to understand a problem at a basic level. It creates the foundation for further research.

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A literature review should abide by specific principles. One of them is credibility. Appropriately selected sources enhance the significance of a study. Therefore, to achieve reliable results, it is necessary to apply the mentioned above techniques as they foster the quality of research.


Goldacre, B. (2011). Battling bad science.[Video file]. Web.

Finding and evaluating research materials.(n.d.). Web.

Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten simple rules for writing a literature review. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(7), 1-4.

Top ten search tips.(n.d.). Web.

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