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Choose a Topic
Informally, explore a topic you find fascinating, that you enjoy, or that you are passionate about.
Look around in familiar places to see if there is enough published material on your topic to allow you to perform a meaningful review. Two or three items would make a weak review.
REALITY CHECK: You can't review a topic that hasn't been researched. If you can't find articles or books on your topic, maybe nothing has been written about it yet. Do some informal exploring before emotionally attaching to a topic.
Ask yourself where information on your topic might be located.
Newspapers? Govenment Websites? Books? Magazines or Journals?
Is your topic cross-disciplinary? Fashion information can be found in BUSINESS, ART, HISTORY, and ENTERTAINMENT resources.
Choose your Search Tools.
Identify the tools necessary to locate published works on your topic.
Search Engines such as Google Scholar? Government websites such as the Library of Congress? Library databases or catalogs?
Use a variety of tools to get comprehensive results.
No one information searching tool will find everything you will need for an adequate literature review.
Use a variety of tools: library catalogs, library databases, internet search engines, etc.
What form should the information be in?
research article newspaper story video book chapter audio file website
Which format will provide the information you seek?
Book Chapters * Research Articles * Videos * Newspaper articles * Blog posts * Audio Recordings * Conference papers
Keep in mind that some topics have a TIME component.
Information on topics that are historical may not be online.
You may have to search print resources by hand. Browse Library shelves. Try archives.
Information on topics that are extremely current may only be available online: news websites, blog posts, twitter, etc.
Choose your words carefully.
Pain Reliever * Tylenol * Acetaminophen
Informal Formal Technical
The BEST search begins with a search for the RIGHT SEARCH WORDS. If you get the RIGHT WORDS, the literature will fall into your lap.
When choosing search terms, be comprehensive. Think of as many words as you can.
Help with finding formal & technical search terms:
Devise a Search Strategy
Make a Plan * Follow Your Plan * Track Your Work
Try using an Excel Spreadsheet or homemade matrix to help keep track of your searches.
Use Boolean Logic
Keep the following in mind when writing:
If you need help writing, contact the TWU Write Site: