Searching the Literature

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Information about Searching the Literature

Published on February 6, 2014

Author: UniofYorkLibrary



A presentation from a workshop designed to help PhD students and research staff to search the literature. It covers advanced stages in the literature search process, from planning the search to developing an effective research strategy, through to obtaining copies of the literature identified.

Information searching for new researchers: finding material for your literature review Academic Liaison & Research Support RDT Training Programme 2013/14

Overview of this workshop • Search techniques: » keyword searching and combining » cited reference searching • Locating the full text of items you find » accessing print and electronic resources at York • Using other libraries • Finding theses, using repositories • Keeping up-to-date • Managing your information (introduction only) Format: Presentation, demonstration, practical exercises. Questions welcome!

What will not be covered • Data sources • Primary sources • Detailed search instructions for each resource See your Subject Guide for more information Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for further assistance

Google Scholar Advantages Disadvantages • • Too many results(?) More results – a range of resource types, e.g. books, journal articles, theses • Simple to search • Links to full text items available at York (use Settings off-campus) • Cited references • Less quality control. Coverage: what is and is not covered? Duplication. Inclusion of some nonacademic materials • Inconsistent bibliographic information • Few sophisticated search options, e.g. difficult to apply limits

Search strategy techniques • Find key search terms » Synonyms butterfly/lepidoptera, cancer/neoplasm » Plurals liberty/liberties, child/children, mouse/mice » Word stems educat* will find education, educational, educationalist, educating » Alternative spellings organi?ation will find organisation or organization • Phrase searching "mental health", "higher education" • Proximity advertising NEAR/2 campaign • Synonyms OR neoplasm • Additional keywords/concepts AND therapy • Excluding irrelevant results NOT drug

Combining your search terms with OR Use OR to combine search terms of similar meaning. Particularly useful when there are many appropriate terms that could be used to search one concept. For example: » cancer OR tumour OR tumor OR neoplasm » "higher education“ OR university OR college » child OR children OR girl OR boy OR minor • OR searches for any of the words in a record • OR will make your search broader, retrieves more results

Combining your search terms with AND Use AND to combine the different concepts of your search. For example: » cancer AND chemotherapy AND children » business AND survive AND recession » "art history" AND teaching AND multimedia • AND finds documents in which all terms occur • AND retrieves fewer records, narrows down the results

Hands-on practical no.1 • Think of alternative terms and combinations of words and terms for your search • Discuss your topic and keywords with the person next to you • 10 - 15 minutes

Subject database searching • Paid-for (subscription) databases » require a login • Interdisciplinary databases, for example: » Web of Science, Scopus • Subject databases, for example: » Computer Abstracts, PsycINFO, MathSciNet, MEDLINE, EconLit, Business Source Premier, Westlaw UK, ERIC, Empire Online, ARTbibliographies Modern, ABELL • Access via E-Resources Guide or Subject Guides

Why use the “paid-for” databases? • Emphasis on peer-reviewed (high quality) titles within specific subject areas • Sophisticated search capabilities » e.g. can combine searches using your search history to produce more complex strategies • Systematic indexing » many have own subject headings i.e. controlled terminology • Good options for saving search results

Locating the full text • Linking to full text » click on the link to access the full text • White Rose Repository » York/Leeds/Sheffield for open access articles, pre-prints etc. • Other repositories, for example via: » Google Scholar » OpenDOAR • Interlending service » make requests online, £2 per item

Evaluating your results You need to evaluate the information you find: Look at the section on evaluating information

Hands-on practical no.2 • Compare searching a subject database with searching Google Scholar • Link to the full text if it is available • 20 minutes

Tracing academic arguments References – provides you with additional information relating to the arguments / evidence presented in the research. Citations – Citation searching allows you to search forward in the published literature, to locate new articles which cite the original source.

Cited reference search tools • Web of Science (WoS) » can sort results lists by Times Cited » search for cited references » create cited reference alerts • Scopus » sort by Times Cited, View citing references, create cited reference alerts » see Cited Reference tutorial at • Google Scholar » displays number of times cited » link to citing references » create cited reference alerts

Cited reference search Demonstration … Try to find articles that have cited: Johnson, L., Lee, A. and Green, B. (2000) The PhD and the autonomous self: gender, rationality and postgraduate pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education, 25 (2): 135-147 using the Web of Science



Cited references Usefulness "Citation indexing can improve scientific communication by revealing relationships between articles, drawing attention to important corrections or retractions of published work, identifying significant improvements or criticisms of earlier work, and helping limit the wasteful duplication of prior research.“ Lawrence, S., Giles, H.L. and K. Bollacker, K. (1999) Digital Libraries and Autonomous Citation Indexing. IEEE Computer, 32(6): 67-71.

Cited references Usefulness • More citations = higher ranking for you and your institution (e.g. in REF) • Can be used to indicate relative level of importance of a paper • May be a positive or negative connection to other literature e.g. MMR vaccine • Give you a quality controlled list of material to consult if you establish the context in which it has been cited

Other libraries – for items not at York • British Library » minibus to British Library at Boston Spa (Near Wetherby) » further information at: • SCONUL Access » enables you to visit and borrow from other institutions, apply online 33

Repositories • White Rose Research Online » increased access to material normally behind a subscription barrier (Open Access) » items can also be deposited » more information about WRRO at: • Other repositories » SHERPA at:

Theses • York theses » finding York theses in the Library and online » White Rose eTheses online • Theses in the UK » Index to Theses UK » EThOS • International theses » Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations » DART-Europe Etheses Portal » OAIster (Open access resources)

Keeping up-to-date • What? » » » » auto alerts for new search results journal table of contents (TOC) new books tweets, blogs, etc. • How? » email or RSS » mailing lists • RSS » Need to subscribe to a feed reader • RDT courses – networking, social media…

Hands-on practical no.3 Journal alerts • Create an email alert for a journal relevant to your research, use either Zetoc or JournalTOCs » see the examples in the worksheet to help you choose • If you register for an RSS feed reader, you could set up your alert as an RSS feed instead of an email alert • 15 minutes

Managing information • Bibliographic management software » create your own library of references » import references from the Library Catalogue, most subject databases, Google Scholar » delete duplicates » add your own notes » insert your references from Endnote into Word (Cite While You Write) » format your bibliography in the correct referencing style

Managing information • EndNote Desktop and EndNote Web/Online » University of York supported packages » IT Services courses run each term » online tutorial available » Endnote Google site for further guidance at: • Other packages, e.g. Mendeley, Zotero » freely available but not supported at York » plugins not installed on IT Services computers

Where to find more information Information for Researchers web pages » Subject Guides » Digital Scholarship blog » » these and other slides will be put there » forum for sharing/discussion » look out for announcements and news

Questions? 41

Thank you for listening Find resources for your subject: Find us on Slideshare: Find us on Twitter: UoYLibrary Digital Scholarship blog:

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