Carrying Out a Literature Search

1 Introduction to Carrying Out a Literature Search

This section covers the main aspects of carrying out an effective literature search. The method of delivery is a mixture of text with PDF files and web links.

On completion of this section, you will have a better understanding of the reasons for carrying out a literature search and how you schedule a literature search to maximise its benefit.

The aim of a literature search is to identify existing work about the subject you are researching. You will almost certainly carry out, develop and refine your literature search at several points during the course of your research.


It can sometimes be difficult to understand the difference between a literature search and a literature review.  However, just remember that a literature search is only one part of the process of producing an effective literature review.  You can find more information on literature reviews under 'Planning and Carrying out a Literature Review'.


Thinking Points:

  • What are you hoping to find out from your research?

  • How will you search for it?

  • Where will you search for it?