Essay Writing Search Strategy for Literature Review: Questions & Answers

Do you need to conduct a Literature Review? If so you will need a good search strategy in order to locate relevant and current research evidence to review, and write your Essay or Dissertation. Study Coach academic support is here to assist you with learning about Search Strategy. 

ASK STUDY COACH – Search Strategy

QUESTION: Study Coach, what is a search strategy?

Answer: A Search Strategy is simply a plan of how you will go about finding suitable research evidence (articles) for review. Meaning, the method you will use to find researchers work to support your particular research topic. 

QUESTION: Is wikipedia a good source for essays/dissertation?

Answer: The short answer is ‘NO’. The advice is that students shouldn’t reference wikipedia in their academic work. Wikipedia has its usefulness for other projects but not for academic projects. 

QUESTION: What is a good resource to find literature for review?

Answer: The best resource is to use a relevant academic database for your academic subject. Students need to become aware about academic subject specific databases. 

QUESTION: What is an example of an academic database?

Answer: CINAHL, ERIC, EBSCO, MEDLINE

Essay Writing Title

Let’s imagine that you have to write an essay about eating disorder (anorexia and bulimia). You will therefore need to find relevant researches on the topic of anorexia and bulimia. Eating disorder is a health issue and so you will need to access a relevant resource, such as MEDLINE database. Get access to the database and start the search for relevant articles. If your research title is to investigate bulimia and anorexia and adult men, then you will need to exclude all researches found on teenage boys and eating disorders. 

Key Search Terms Strategy 

You will need to have a list of key search terms to help you to locate relevant literature for your essay on anorexia, bulimia and adult men. The key search terms will help you to locate, and choose relevant research articles. The key search terms will help you to construct a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria.  

Literature Search Inclusion/Exclusion criteria

In respect of our research on anorexia/bulimia and adult men. The inclusion criteria terms would be: anorexia, bulimia, adult men, age 25+. Example of the exclusion criteria would be: teenagers, young men, women, girls, boys. All researches found on women, girls, boys, young men and anorexia/bulimia, would therefore have to be set-aside, in other words cannot be used as evidence in our research.  

There are other important search strategy issues for consideration, Study Coach will say more about Search Strategy in a future blog. 



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