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Systematic approaches to literature review searching

Saving your searches

Your search strategy should be reproducible, therefore it is important that you keep good records of the searches that you carry out. You will need to record:

  • where you searched
  • when you carried out the search
  • your search strategy 
  • search limits applied
  • the number of records retrieved.

The document below can be used to keep a record of your searches:

 

Saving searches in a database

It is also possible to save your search histories within each database. In order to do this you need to set up a personal account in each relevant database. For details on how to set up an account, check the Help pages of each database. Saving a search in a database will allow you to run the search again at a later date. You also have the option to create an alert for your search. For a demonstration of how to save searches in ProQuest watch our video Saving your search.

Using EndNote to manage results

We recommend that you use a bibliographic management tool such as EndNote to manage your search results. 

With EndNote you can:

  • export references from databases into your EndNote library
  • store full text PDFs
  • add your own research notes to references
  • insert citations into a Word document and have them formatted in your chosen referencing style
  • create a bibliography in a selected referencing style
  • organise your references into groups.

For further information see our EndNote guide

EndNote training

The library holds EndNote training workshops. Please check our Workshop Calendar for further details. 

Using NVivo for your literature review

You can use the qualitative data analysis software NVivo to:

  • classify, sort and arrange non-numerical data
  • examine relationships between data
  • analyse data to determine patterns or themes.

NVivo training

The library holds NVivo training sessions. Please check our Workshop Calendar for further details.