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Subject guides

Dissertation Survival Guide: Literature searching

Guidance on how to complete your Dissertation/Final Year Project and make the most of Library and IT Services and Resources

Start your literature review by searching Summon

So you’ve got your research questions sorted? Great. Now you need to think about finding existing research on this topic. This is what your literature review will cover. This may also be referred to as "background research". 

But WHERE should you search? The Library buys millions of journal articles, books, newspapers and more, and makes them available through Summon. On this page, you will find guidance on search tools you can use, and how to evaluate and think critically about the literature you are reviewing.

What is a literature review?

Not sure what is meant by a literature review? This video will talk you through what a literature review is and what it should usually include.

Pick out the keywords from your research question

Picking out the keywords from your research question will help you search Summon and other scholarly databases in an efficient way. This video gives advice on selecting keywords, and also considering synonyms when you search.

Keywords worksheet

What should I include?

You may have been told you need to include more scholarly or academic sources in your work. But what does this mean? This video will outline the most common types of academic information and what they may be useful for.

Where should I look?

The best place to start your searching is Summon, the Library's search engine. The video below is a guide to the main features of Summon and how to get the most out of it.

After searching Summon, you may want to try looking for some more specialist materials for your own subject area. To get started, check your Library Subject Guide. These are guides to the specialist resources that are most useful for the subject you are studying.

As well as searching Summon and other specialist, scholarly databases, you may wish to look for information on the web. Searching for quality information on the web can be tricky. The video below gives some advice on how to approach this in a targeted way.